2 Timothy 4:6-7 “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Toward the end of Paul’s life he encouraged Timothy to “discharge the duties” of his ministry to not give up and to keep serving God. Paul didn’t just talk about what to do he lived it, he ran the race all the way to the finish because he was:
Following Jesus means that we will become familiar with our commanders voice. Studying Jesus is best done in the context of spending time with Jesus so that we become familiar with, His Word and what He has to say. His ways and how the Lord wants us to live. His workers, as a good soldier fighting the good fight we are called to lookout and care for our fellow soldiers who serve. When was the last time that you worked for the welfare of others? His war and the weapons He want us to use to wage it, Faith and prayer. Are you familiar with the tactics of the enemy, are you familiar with God’s armor?
Finishing well means that we will not retreat in the face of our enemies. Today we concede because we have no conviction, our primary concern is for comfort not Christ. We give ground over Godly issues and fight over the trivial while ignoring the terrible. Paul understood what he was fighting for and didn’t lose sight of the destination. Finishing well doesn’t just happen we have to be dedicated, determined and driven to finish.
- FOLLOW THROUGH
We have to walk the talk, Paul didn’t just preach principles he practiced them. The greatest words in the bible are “It is FINISHED” but that required Jesus to follow through with God’s plan. Today we want the feeling of being finished without the follow through. Follow through involves submitting self to the Savior and following Him all the way. Jesus didn’t just follow God into the garden he followed through to the grave. It comes down to commitment and who we are really sold out for, self or the Savior? Today we have grown callused to commitment, craving the casual and careless instead. We prefer the freedom to fooling around more than the commitment to follow through. Yet you can’t practice procrastination and expect to profit, there is no substitute for sustained step by step follow through. Hebrews 12:1 tells us “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.“ In the word perseverance, there is the picture of battling through, of fighting the urge to quit. Instead of taking the easy path we are called to persevere, to endure and yet to enjoy. The Christian life is not a walk in the park, often it makes our physical life harder, but it will provide the ability for you to be more joyful in the midst of whatever is going on in your life. There is coming a day when we will receive a reward for the race, God records every good deed, oh to hear His words “well done my good & faithful servant.”
If we are going to finish well it is imperative that we keep our focus. Maybe you have made some poor decisions in your journey or stumbled along the way, no matter how you have been doing along life’s journey, it is not too late to finish well. Maybe you have been running the race of life well, I want to encourage you to keep focused on Christ, because you do not want to slip up now and finish poorly. As Paul finished his race what was he focused on? 2 Timothy 4:1-5 – “1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” Paul’s focused was on the eternal, not the temporary, he understood that our hope is not found in this life but in the Lord. Because Paul focused on the eternal his priority was people and the preaching of God’s Word. Finishing well requires focusing on what will be forever. Finishing means following, being faithful, familiar, fighting for and following through while focusing on the Father. So how are you doing?