2 Timothy 4:7 (Paul states) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith… ~ I’ve been thinking about this scripture today and all that is encompassed in this one verse. Paul was a man beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, persecuted, and hated by the religious leaders of his day for testifying of the truth of the gospel. The fortitude, the strength, the faith, and the conviction that he must have had to not only endure such hardships but to overcome them is incredible. At one point in Philippians, he had opportunity to step out of this life and into eternity but chose not to for the benefit of others. And to say that he fought a good fight, finished his race, and kept the faith is an amazing testimony to the faithfulness and grace of God.
I think about the training and preparation that it took for him to be able to run his race. Before a person runs a marathon, they take months and even years to prepare for the 26.2 miles that’s before them. We only see them on race day, in their ‘glory’. We don’t see the blood, sweat, and tears that they press through to build the stamina that is needed to endure such a grueling race. How much more should we prepare to run our race? See, I don’t want to start strong at the starting line only to falter or fail before I cross the finish line. I want to run my race strong and finish strong. Sometimes I think we get so excited to do something for God we just want to take off out of the gates and run not realizing exactly how big the track is. I want to have the same fortitude, endurance, and strength that Paul did so that I can finish my race and have the same testimony.
My encouragement to you today is to not despise the training regiment God has you in, not to despise the time that it takes, but to be encouraged that when he opens the gate, you can have confidence that you’re ready for what lies ahead. When you let him open the gates, you can be sure that victory is in store for you at the end of your race.