The Christian life has been described as a journey or a marathon. The Bible describes it as a race, but it is a long one not unlike a marathon. However, it is a journey in which we should not only strive to finish, but also to enjoy and mature. At the end of my life, I want to be able to utter the same words as the Apostle Paul:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
Notice that Paul speaks first of spiritual warfare; this is by design. You cannot claim to have finished a race or kept the faith if you did not fight the good fight. The Bible teaches that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” but that our battle is indeed spiritual.
All throughout the Bible we are encouraged and exhorted to stand courageous and strong. In the day which we are living, it is imperative that Christian warriors stand in the gap for the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we look around the landscape, we see Christianity being attacked and too many pastors and church leaders surrendering without a fight. That is because they are looking through human eyes instead of eyes of faith:
“Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.’” (Isaiah 35:4)
Imagine a marathon race where the participants are randomly attacked along their route. The attacks could come from a number of sources and in a variety of forms. How many runners would sign up for such a race? That is exactly the type of race we are in my Christian brothers and sisters. But as the Prophet Isaiah teaches, we need not be fearful or weary because God is with us. God will bring vengeance and repay all our enemies what they have coming.
To persevere in this race, we must cling to biblical truth. Nothing knocks us off the path of righteousness than spiritual deception. Just look around and see the embracing of homosexual marriage by many churches across America and you’ll see the deception. This is not a present-day phenomenon; the early church had to deal with this:
“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:7-9)
Notice that Paul uses the past tense when speaking to the Galatians about their running. This means we can start out strong at the beginning of our race, but not finish well if we do not fight the good fight. We must fight against spiritual deception constantly.
If anyone had reason to quit and not finish well, it was the Apostle Paul. However, no matter what he was facing, he knew that Jesus would provide enough grace for the race so Paul could finish well. Paul knew well the hindrances we would face in the race and knew that we would be susceptible to them:
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16)
I do not mean to imply the race is easy. It is not; that is why we must rely upon Jesus’ grace for the race. It means we have to remain faithful to our Lord and to His word. Did you know that even if we do not remain faithful to Jesus, that He remains faithful? That is who He is, or as the vernacular is today: “Let Jesus be Jesus.” Here’s why:
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
I don’t know what part of the race each of you are in, but I do know that God is not surprised by it, even though you may be perplexed. Our God is omniscient and omnipresent. That means He is all-knowing and ever-present. If we could manifest this truth in our daily lives, we would finish the race strong:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
Beloved, do not grow weary, do not be deceived, and do not quit the race. Stay the course. Trust in Jesus and He will see you to the end.
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Copyright © 2016 David Jeffers