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

II Timothy 4: 6 – 8

With anticipation the Apostle Paul wrote of the approaching end of life: “I have finished the race.”

The arena in Barcelona was filled with nearly 70,000 spectators awaiting the start of the men’s 400 meter race. The outstanding British runner Derick Redford, along with other competitors, awaited the starter’s gun. Streams of dreams of a lifetime were in that moment flowing into the pond of reality. Redford was running well when an athlete’s dream turned into a nightmare. He pulled a hamstring muscle. Pain of unimaginable extent caused this stalwart man to grimace and grab his leg as agony painted itself on his now tear-flooded face.  Every move sent shock waves of pain through his leg. Nevertheless he hopped and hobbled toward the finish line. He fought off would-be medics who pleaded with him to quit and lie down. When it became apparent he couldn’t make it to the finish line alone, his dad rushed to his aid and putting his arm around him, helped his crippled son go those last yards to the finish line.  He finished the race.

He did so because long before he even went to Barcelona he had his eye on that goal. Nothing could keep him from his goal. That is the will needed to follow Christ. When you have your mind set on pleasing Him, nothing will cause you to give up and quit.

The term used in our text does not speak of winning, but finishing. Marathoners know only one person will win. That is great, but there is honor and valor in finishing. You may not be a heralded “winner” in life’s race for Jesus, but be sure you are faithful and complete what you have begun. 

Few who enter the great Peachtree Road Race have any thought of winning. With pride all of them wear their peach-colored T-shirts symbolizing they had finished the race.  Doing so gives a sense of fulfillment and joy. The same should be ours each day as we conclude it having been faithful to Christ.

Write out your lifetime goal statement. Engrave it in the corridor of your mind through which all thoughts must pass and let them be influenced thereby. Such a goal statement is neither magic nor a cosmic exercise in clairvoyance. It is a Bible-based understanding of what our Lord wants of you. Resolve to finish the race.

I love non-word words. That is, words you won’t find in a dictionary but once you hear them you know what they mean. The Greek text translated “press toward the mark” means with all “stretchoutedness” I press toward the finish tape.

You determine your lifestyle. With Christ as your pattern, your goal, stick to the Jesus’ standard that it might please Him. Don’t neglect to obey the truth you claim to believe. Doing so will enable you to finish the good fight.