I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2Tim. 4:7 NIV
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Today’s devotion is a continuation of the devotion titled, “Prepare For Your Departure”. Paul had prepared well for his departure and so was not having any regrets or pain about the way he lived his life or fear about what his fate will be in the life after life. He confidently states that a crown of righteousness is waiting for him as a reward for remaining faithful. This is a crown that will be awarded by the Almighty God, not to him alone but to everyone who are deserving of it – 2Tim. 4:8.
To be this confident about life after life and be deserving of this crown of righteousness, Paul gives impression that life’s challenges must be properly handled in a manner that must not compromise the faith of the person in God. In order to be successful in tackling life’s challenges, Paul says life itself must be seen in two ways:
1. Life must be seen as a battle. The Apostle Paul, in this regard states confidently that he has fought the good fight. The statement implies that not all life battles are relevant for this cause of winning the crown of righteousness. As far as he is concerned, some fights will be regarded as bad or not so good fight. The reality here is that winning or losing these fights will have no relevance to this cause of winning the crown of righteousness. Winning the fight of being the richest, the most handsome, the best graduate, the most intelligent, etc., will have no relevance as the victory is limited to this world. They are in no way unimportant as they all help to decide how this life is lived, but have no direct relevance whatsoever with this crown of righteousness. How you win them will definitely have an effect on this award as denying the faith to achieve victory will produce the greatest loss for anyone on the faithful day of judgement. The fight you need to win which Paul refers to as the good fight will be the fight of remaining faithful in the face of want, oppression, lack and even deprivation. The steadfastness in rejecting all the enticements and inducements of Satan in order to remain in good stead with the Lord. You have indeed won that fight against poverty and now very rich, against childlessness and now have many children and other similar fights but what price did you have to pay? Think deeply because only you know what length you went, to achieve that victory. Only you will need to defend all your actions on that day and only you will receive the deserved punishment if that is what you earned and not all those praise singers who will have their own issues to face. Yes! Only you.
2. Life must be seen as a race. The Apostle Paul says one must run the race of life faithfully. Every race is run over a period of time guided by rules. Unlike normal race however, where the time you finish is determined by your performance, the race of life is judged by your performance within a time frame that is not even known to the athlete and so, one will need to run believing that every second is the last second. There is however a minimum performance expected to be met during this time frame and any performance short of this minimum will not qualify the individual for the award of the crown of righteousness. Again and unfortunately, this minimum is only known to the father who will weigh all activities on the judgement day. The race course in life as several landmarks with specific and divine path leading to each of them. Any attempt to achieve victory through any path outside this divine and specific path will be viewed as unfaithfulness and a loss of the award of crown of righteousness. Not only will the Christian be required to know this path through the directive of the Holy Spirit but will be expected to walk along this path irrespective of the challenges on the way and still arrive at the divine destination within the time stipulated for the race. How are you running your race of life? Are you sure you are not on another person’s track running another person’s race? Are you sure that the races that you have won so far have been through the divine path set for you? Are you sure that you won the race, remaining faithful to the Almighty God and his son Jesus Christ? These again are questions that you will need to answer honestly as the applause of people for you winning that race may not be the same as what the heavens are recording. Yes! Indeed you were recorded by men to have won, but does the judge of the whole earth see it as such? You will need to be honest in this response because all those praise singers will not be there during your trial. They will have their own trials to face and it will be only you. Yes! Only you.
Either as a fight or as a race, life presents to each person several challenges that tend to attack the foundation of the faith of the individual in the Lord and there will be the need to remain faithful to the end else, the crown of righteousness will be lost. Whatever the challenge that life may pose, may the Almighty God uphold you and keep you faithful till the end so that you can receive the crown of righteousness in Jesus name. Amen.