10/30/17 Running the Race

READING: Jeremiah 20-21, 2 Timothy 4

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

I've mentioned before in these devotions that I don't fear death. I hope it will not happen for me any time soon, but I honestly don’t worry about it. I know my life is in God’s hand, so I have no reason to get stressed about it.

What I do think about, though, is whether I will have run my race well when the Lord does call me home. The apostle Paul is a primary example here, who could face his death with confidence: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:6-7). Just the last three lines of his testimony are challenging to me. Paul knew he had fought the fight well. He knew he was now approaching the finish line, but he was okay with that reality because he also knew that he had been faithful to his Lord and to his calling. Now, he was prepared to die, giving his life as an offering to God.

I read all these words, and I’m challenged to review my life as of this day. Have I fulfilled my calling to proclaim the Word? Have I shared the gospel faithfully with non-believers? Do I have any loose ends in personal relationships? Do I need to forgive anyone? Have I, in God’s power, overcome sin strongholds in my life? Have I loved my wife as Christ loved the church? One gets the sense that Paul did not wait until the latter months of his life to give himself fully to God; rather, he ended each day walking faithfully—and each day’s faithfulness led to weeks of faithfulness, which became months of faithfulness, and ultimately years of faithfulness. Paul could say near the end of his life, “I have kept the faith” because he chose every day to keep the faith.

That’s the way it is as we follow God: our long-term victory begins with daily victory today.

 ACTION STEPS: 

  • Run your race well today, knowing that God could call you home this day.  
  • Thank God that He rewards those who faithfully walk with Him.

PRAYER: “Father, grant me grace to fight the good fight today.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Jeremiah 22-23, Titus 1