For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
History and Context:
Many of you already read a short description on the history of 2 Timothy yesterday. Feel free to glance over it again if you would like. The important thing to recognize for this verse is that this is Paul's last letter written. He knew he was about to die so he wanted to present final instructions to Timothy, his disciple. According to Christian tradition, Paul was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero in the mid 60's AD.
Paul starts here by recognizing that his time of "departure" is coming. It seems clear that he means his departure from this earth. He knows that he is about to die, but he also knows that he has accomplished what he needed to do while on this earth. Tuesday I shared how Paul referred to the Christian walk as a race, well here he says he has "finished the race". He also again refers to the crown, which in Corinthians he stated is imperishable. Here he says this crown is of righteousness. Showing that as Christians, we will receive a reward in heaven for what we have done on earth. This statement is one of the most amazing statements anyone could make at the end of their life. How many people actually finish what they are supposed to do in their life? Of course only God truly knows the answer to that question, but how many times have you or I missed opportunities that we know were given to us by God. Yet Paul says he finished it. He fought, he ran, and he kept the faith.
What is your fight? What is your race? How has your faith manifested in your life? Many Christians never even ask themselves these questions. Or they limit themselves with answers like "I fight against temptation and sin." or "My race is simply to make it to heaven." If we don't live as if we have a purpose, we can never achieve our purpose. If we don't recognize the race, we will never be able to finish it. If you don't know what your personal race, your personal battle, is then you need to seek God for it. It's time for us to live according to our purpose, then we will be able to say with Paul, at the end of our lives, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
Lord, show me what my battle is, what my race is in life. I know that you have given me a divine purpose here on earth. Show me what that is and help me to fulfill it. I desire to finish this race, but before I can do that, I need to know what race I am running. What is my final goal? Thank you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!