I Have Kept the Faith and the Faith Has Kept Me: Part Four

II Timothy 4: 6 – 8

The expression “kept the faith” means I have competed in life’s marathon according to the rules. The athletes of the era in which this was written took a solemn oath before the games that they would compete honorably and honestly. 

When you accept Christ as Savior, He makes a commitment to you. He commits Himself to forgive your sins, to be your constant companion through life, and to receive you unto Himself in heaven. He keeps His word.

In coming to Christ you, too, make a commitment to Him. In summary, it is to give Him your life. That means you will keep your vision focused on Him and strive to please Him in all you do. Keep the faith contract.

It was a fog-shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island. Her goal was to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long-distance swimming wasn’t new to her. She was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.

The water was numbing cold that day, but that would not deter her from her goal. Several times intimidating sharks had to be scared away by rifle fire.  They would not cause her to miss her goal.  A fog so thick she could hardly see the boats accompanying her shrouded the area. 

After 15 hours of swimming, she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer pleaded with her to continue since her goal was so close. All Florence could see was the fog. She quit …  only one-half mile from her goal.

Many times we too fail, not because of peer pressure or because of anything other than the fact we lose sight of our goal.  That is why Paul later described himself by saying, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3: 14)

Well-conditioned runners come to the moment of competition to extend themselves. As they near the finish line with muscles on the verge of cramping, their lungs on fire begging for air, their nostrils strutted, their eyes straining, and their jaws open, they stretch out to the finish line.

Does that depict the extent to which you are willing to compete in the moral, ethical, and spiritual competition to reach your goal of pleasing Christ?

Two months after her failure, once again Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same cold shark-infested channel and heroically swam the distance, setting a new speed record because she could see the land, her goal, all the way. One of these hopefully distant days when your life reaches its conclusion, may you be able to happily say, “I have kept the faith.”

If you keep your faith in Christ, the Christ of your faith will keep you.