I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Â Â Â Â 2 Timothy 4:7 (HCSB)
I have often heard this describe someone at their funeral. And I guess it is appropriate as our the race in this world won’t be finished until then. Right?
But I would like to hear Jesus whisper the other two points of this passage sooner than later. I have fought the good fight. I have kept the faith.
What is God’s view of a â€œgood fightâ€? First, I must align myself with the â€œgood guysâ€. That’s God’s team. His team hates wickedness (Psalm 45:7) and sin (Psalm 5:5) and evil (Psalm 97:10). The team hates all who hate God (Psalm 139:21). The team loves â€œgoodâ€ which means we love all that has to do with God.
Paul reminds me (2 Corinthians 10, take time to read that chapter today) that I am in God’s Army. I signed up the night that I gave my life to Jesus. When I made that commitment, Satan declared me his enemy and he doesn’t take prisoners. He only destroys. I can learn how to fight the good fight or I can become collateral kill. There is no neutral ground. Friend of God = enemy of Satan.
I fight with the weapons given to me through the Holy Spirit. Jesus shows me by His example how to use the weapons. He shows me how to use discernment and compassion and mercy and grace. With the power of the Spirit, I corral my wandering thoughts and give Him total power over them. I don’t know about you but this is the key to my ability to fight in God’s Army. My own thoughts incapacitate me and do more damage than the enemy may ever attempt. In asking for the Holy Spirit’s covering and Jesus’ example to obey, I am so weak â€“ I am strong in Jesus! OOO-RAH! (Marine yell)
Keeping the faith may seem so â€“ noble. Until I read Hebrews 11 and take the time to truly read the stories of those great icons of faith. They were just like me. Weak. Less than perfect as they made poor choices and even tried to lie to God about their choices. They weren’t extraordinary â€“ God was! God is!
Fighting the good fight, keeping the faith, finishing the race is not because I am great or even special. It is because God loved me so much to pursue me and I said, â€œYesâ€. He shows me how to accomplish the rest. Jesus shows me that I cannot â€œcruiseâ€ through this race. I must put forth the effort to follow Him. Choose Jesus every day. It’s a really good thing that is the truth of my life in His Army or I would be a washout.
Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: with the Lord one day is like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that [day] the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, [it is clear] what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be on fire and be dissolved, and the elements will melt with the heat. But based on His promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2 Peter 3:8-13 (HCSB)