2 Timothy 4:6-7 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Every birth date comes with an expiration date. Every single person ever born on this earth will eventually finish their life. The question isn't if we will finish, it is how we will finish.
The ancient Greeks had a unique race in their Olympic Games. The runners would run a race with a lit torch. The winner was not the one who finished first, it was the one who finished first with their torch still lit.
The verses in II Timothy is Paul's divinely recorded testimony as he looks towards the fast approaching end of his life. Paul looked at his life without regret. From the time he met Christ on the Damascus road until the day of his death, he ran his race with passion and conviction. Now as he looks back, he could say with a clear conscience that he ran his race to the best of his ability and fulfilled God's will.
That is a worthy goal for each and every one of us. The desire of our hearts should be that as we approach the end of our life, we too can look back with all sincerity and say that we finished our course and fulfilled God's will to the best of our ability. That we finished our race with our torch still lit. Paul mentions three elements that helped him to finish his race with his torch still lit.
First, he was willing to fight. As with all humans we will face tough times, times when we may be tempted to give up and extinguish our torch. God never told us that things would be easy, only that following His path would be best. Far too many Christians give up too easily at the first sign of opposition or unpleasant circumstances. Sometimes we just need to fight through the tough times with God's help.
Second, we need to be committed to finish. We must start our journey understanding that there will be many things that we will encounter that will try to douse the flame on our torch. It is only through commitment that we can continue on in the face of opposition.
Lastly, we must be faithful: full of faith. Our desire for God and finishing His will should lead us to be faithful in all that we do. Far too often we let the circumstances of life determine whether we go forward. But by faith let's just be faithful. Let us always do that which God desires us to do.
If you have the opportunity at the end of your life to look back and give a concise autobiography of how you lived, would you have Paul's testimony of finishing with your torch still lit? May God help us and give us the strength to do so.
If we are not building our life on the Word of God, we will experience major defeat and disaster.
If an area of our life is incompatible with Scriptural living, it isn't to be moved to another area, but removed completely.