Tony R. Nester
II Timothy 4:6-8
Will you be able to say about your life what Paul said to Timothy about his: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith"?
Paul didn't write these words to boast in front of Timothy about his spiritual accomplishments. He wasn't after Timothy's admiration. Not at all.
Earlier, in the first letter he sent to Timothy, Paul acknowledged that he was the worst possible sinner. Here's what he said in 1Timothy 1:15: "The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the foremost."
Paul was quick to admit his weaknesses and failings. But at the same time he urgently called believers and especially his son in the faith, Timothy, to spiritual endurance. "Timothy, my son in Christ, no matter what difficulties you may face, stay in the fight, finish the race, keep the faith. This I have done, and so can you."
Paul was Timothy's spiritual mentor, and he was encouraging Timothy to endure in his commitment to Christ. Paul wanted Timothy to finish well.
It's been said that diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their job. But it's one thing to make a good beginning and quite another to endure and to finish well.
I heard about a boxer by the name of Babe Malonek who was favored to win a fight. Just before the opening round, his manager gave him these last-minute instructions: "Get to it; I want you to run across the ring and lay into him. Catch him before he can even get his dukes ups." The bell rang, Malonek leaped off his stool, took two running steps, tripped, crashed into the floor chin first, and knocked himself out cold. The referee counted to 10 and the fight was over.
There are believers who flame out in just a matter of weeks or months as Christians -- they have no endurance.
Paul wanted Timothy to understand that our life in Christ takes energy, discipline, and ...
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