"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful."
Paul describes the journey of faith as both a fight and a race. In a fight we spar with an adversary, in a race we run against a clock. Both activities describe well the challenges that we have as believers. Life is a fight for the Christian because we know that we struggle against our own selfish desires. We naturally aspire to gain wealth, receive praise, and live comfortably. But Jesus calls us to be generous with our money, to serve others, and to face hardships for the sake of the Kingdom. It's not comfortable to be in a fight, we have to constantly keep our guard up.
The race illustration is also a common metaphor used to describe the Christian life. When Paul uses it in 2 Timothy 4:7, he isn't suggesting that our race is the 100-meter dash. Our faith journey is not a sprint, it is a marathon. We run it continuously, and often exhaustingly throughout life. Thankfully, Paul isn't suggesting that we need to win the race, we only need to complete it by crossing the finish line at the end. In other words, we need to stay committed to our faith and recognize that there is only so far that we get to go
For today's devotional exercise pick a loop somewhere near where you live. This could be some neighborhood roads or even an actual track field. Walk this circuit and spend some time praying quietly to God as you think about your life's race so far. A marathon is 26.2 miles in length. What mile are you on in your life right now? What does it look like for you to finish your race strong?
(New Living Translation; photo credit: Wix media)