I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7. ESV.)
I love how God’s word uses “running a race” to paint a picture of fighting the good fight and keeping the faith. I think it really does feel like participating in a marathon. Sometimes it is as though I am walking and catching my breath for a moment. Other periods I am jogging and then there are moments when I am running full out or sprinting. It is these moments that exhaust me and cause me to need renewal. But I am never alone. Aside from Christ Jesus in whom I can do all things because He strengthens me (Philippians 4:13), I also have the body of Christ to pick me up when I stumble and fall and to encourage me along the way. Each one running his or her own race…jogging at times and/or sprinting at times. Fellow pilgrims so willing to come along side me and help me preach to myself. All of us with the same goal in sight!
1 Corinthians 9:25: Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
Philippians 3:12: Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
1 Peter 5:10: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
2 Corinthians 9:13: By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others,
1 Timothy 1:12: I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,
1 Thessalonians 2:4: but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
Acts 26:16: But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
Acts 20:32: And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Oh how these pieces of scripture give me hope and energy to continue the race. Even in the face of opposition when it seems as though I am running against a current flowing in the contradictory direction. When the waves come crashing and I am fighting to not get dragged under. When it appears there is sand beneath my feet quickly fleeting as the tide escapes me. My focus has to stay firm on Christ who is my foundation. I have to remind myself I am not standing on sinking sand but rather a rock that will not erode, weather, or break. Jesus, my only hope!
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim 6:12. ESV.)
I am running with you too my dear sisters in Christ. Always willing to link arms and jog together for a while to renew one another and act as iron sharpening iron. I beseech you as I preach to myself, do not lose heart! When you grow weary I will run along side of you as you do for me. We shall lift each other up. My heart is with you! Please pray for me and I will be praying for you!
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24. ESV.)