Keeping the good fight
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
From the text, Paul feels that his time is up. He took the opportunity to encourage Timothy to remain faithful in his calling and to persevere. He set an example by giving himself unselfishly offering for others in his ministry. He challenged Timothy to follow his example as if he is saying, ‘Timothy, be faithful, because I won’t be in this world much longer, my end is near and my life will shortly be poured out on the altar of sacrifice—but you must carry on God’s work.’ From this, we realize that no one is bigger or greater than the work of God. We are all dispensable but even in a short period of time we can be used by God for the expansion of His kingdom. The gospel is far bigger. That is a humbling thought, but it helps us to keep our place in God’s scheme of things in true perspective. When Paul speaks of his ‘departure’, the underlying idea is of a ship slipping its moorings and setting out to sea. He is about to ‘weigh anchor’ and set out on the final voyage to his heavenly home. We shall all ‘weigh anchor’ one day; in the meantime, if God has given us work to do, let us do it as faithfully and conscientiously as we can. Paul knew his moving to a place where he will experience the celebration prepared for those that endured until the end. Now he could say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” He did not quit. He fought fighting the principalities and powers. It is a good fight because he did not engage fighting one another. And he could claim that he finished the race for de did not tire out and quit. He “kept the faith” for he did not weaken it, ignore it, or let it go. As Christians we are all engaged in the same fight with sin and temptation in our own hearts, as well as against the forces of evil operating in society. The question is: are we standing firm by remaining in the faith? Can we say at this moment, “I have fought a good fight?” We are called upon to endure and finish the course God placed us that in spite of the obstacles of persecution, hardship, criticism, and desertion by friends we will not be diverted from the course, instead remaining in it looking only to Jesus, the goal and objective of His faith (Hebrews 12:1–2).