2 Timothy 4:7-8 (CEB)
7I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. 8At last the champion’s wreath that is awarded for righteousness is waiting for me. The Lord, who is the righteous judge, is going to give it to me on that day. He’s giving it not only to me but also to all those who have set their heart on waiting for his appearance.
As he was nearing the end of his life, Paul wrote these words in a letter to Timothy, his protégé. He compares his life to a race—a marathon he is about to complete. He makes no mention of “winning,” just “finishing.” While no marathon runner would be sad to win the race, most would say it’s less about winning it and more about how well you run it.
Paul ran the race well. He fought the good fight and kept the faith. This isn’t the only fighting and battle references Paul uses in his writings. And appropriately so. Living true to your faith is a battle every day, isn’t it? We’re surrounded by temptations, pressured by friends, and even chastised for being Christians.
Each day presents us with several opportunities to deny Jesus, just like Peter did: “I don’t even know the man.”
If we’re going to fight the good fight and finish the race, we’re going to have to train for it. No athlete shows up for the competition without training, and we shouldn’t attempt to take on life without training, either.
What kind of training does one need to take on life? A healthy relationship with Jesus Christ. Start the day with prayer. Ask God to guide you in your decisions and interactions with others. Ask God to protect you from temptations. Keep yourself centered on God with short, little prayers throughout the day. Set aside some quality, quiet time each day to read the Bible and pray more. It’s this kind of “training” that will help you fight the good fight, finish the race, and collect the Heavenly reward.
If today’s devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.