Monday, February 21, 2011
So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. —1 Corinthians 9:26
The apostle Paul drew three comparisons to illustrate what it is like to live as a believer. He likened himself to a fighter, a runner, and a soldier.
First, he said he was like a fighter: "I have fought the good fight . . . " (2 Timothy 4:7). The idea Paul was conveying was a potential fight to the death. This reminds us that the Christian life is a conflict. Once you enter into this new relationship with God, you discover that your adversary, the devil, will try to undermine you. It is a spiritual battle, and thus we need to use spiritual weapons.
Paul also compared himself to a runner. He said, "I have finished the race . . . " (2 Timothy 4:7). The word he used for "race" described an event with obstacles in it, more like getting through an obstacle course. There were numerous hurdles and obstacles that Paul had to deal with in his life, and Paul was saying he had completed that race.
Finally, Paul said he was a soldier: "I have remained faithful" (2 Timothy 4:7). In the original language, this statement carries the meaning of having guarded the faith as an armed soldier would guard his post against enemy attack. Paul was saying that he had not strayed from the truth of God's Word, that he lived it out.
So have you been winning or losing in the struggle against the adversary and personal sin? Have you kept pace in the race of life, or have you slowed down? Have you guarded and kept your faith in the way that you live and tell others?
Let's make it our aim to be able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful."
Copyright © 2011 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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