Daily Devotional: Day 187
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid for me the crown of righteousness . . .” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NKJV).
In competitive track events, an athlete’s performance (position) is based on whether he finished the race or not. Those who cross the finish line have their position determined according to the time made. Those who do not finish the race have the following acronym attached to their name: DNF = Did Not Finish. And then there are those who get disqualified from the race. Their acronym is, DQ = Disqualified. Some athletes do not finish their race due to injury or fatigue.
The Christian life is like a race or a fight. The one difference is, unlike competitive sports, you’re not competing against your fellow believers. You’re simply competing to finish the work marked out for you, keeping to your own lane, fighting your own fight – alongside other believers. The point is, we are in the same fight, the same race, and the same faith, but the details differ from believer to believer – based on everyone’s talent and ability. Whether you finish ahead of others or not isn’t the issue. What matters is that you fight the good fight, you finish your race and you keep the faith, to the end. When you do this, you can be sure, like Paul, that a crown of righteousness awaits you in heaven.
At the time Paul was writing his Second Letter to Timothy, he knew that he [Paul] had a short time to live. That’s when he stated that he had fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. This means you, too, can know where you stand even before you die. Some start with Christ, but they don’t finish. Others get disqualified. We know Christians who started off well, but fell away later.
The Christian life is like an endurance sport (cf. Hebrews 10:36). Starting with Christ is not enough; the key is to endure to the end (cf. Rev 2:10). Today, be determined to finish your Christian race, to keep the faith and to fight the good fight to the end. God does not reward starters; He rewards finishers. Jesus finished His work (cf. John 17:4). Paul, likewise, finished his work (cf. 2 Timothy 4:7). You, too, finish your work. Don’t rely on past faithfulness. Press forward to the finish line. Avoid falling into the Did Not Finish or Disqualified category. Finish strong.
May the Lord bless you and deliver you from all harm. And, have a blessed day! Amen.
For further study: Hebrews 12:1-13