I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;2 Timothy 4:7(NASB)
Second Timothy was the last epistle written by that great apostle to the gentiles, shortly before his impending death. Paul wrote his letter when incarcerated in a Roman prison, and knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he was already being poured out as a sacrificial offering to the Lord. Indeed, in the previous verse we read: For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
From the moment that he encountered the risen, ascended, glorified Lord Jesus, this man became an ardent follower of the Christ. He was humbled by the encounter, on the road to Damascus, and committed himself to life-long surrender, under the Lordship of Jesus. But Paul also learned that the Christian life is a spiritual battle and a continuous struggle against evil.
Paul recognised the grace of God, that had been extended to him, despite his impassioned persecution of the Christian Church, and he laboured for the gospel more fervently than any of his fellow apostles. He was beaten with rods, lashed with whips, stoned by angry crowds and imprisoned time and again. Paul was even in danger of being shipwrecked, while being held captive, on board a Rome vessel.
Paul had also been in danger from rivers, from robbers, from his fellow Jews and from pagan Gentiles, which he recognised as spiritual attacks from the enemy of the Lord. He had survived dangers in the city, hazards in the wilderness and perils on the sea.
He had faced hostility from evil men, apostate teachers and false brethren.. and the apostle Paul suffered much antagonism from his enemies, causing him many hardships, sleepless night, hunger and thirst, heat exhaustion and hypothermic exposure, together with external hazards and internal pressures from many quarters.
Paul had learned that living a spiritual life and maturing in the Christian faith, did not depend on his own ability, wisdom, intelligence or efforts, but on the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, working in him and living through him. It was his passion for his Lord, that caused Paul to press on, for the upward call in Christ Jesus, until he could say, it is not I that live- but the Spirit of Christ, living in me and working through me, for His greater glory and praise.
Let us follow in his footsteps and fight the good fight of faith, so that we may say like Paul I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Heavenly Father, help me to preach the word of truth, with all long-suffering and doctrine. Enable me to exhort and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ, with the same godly passion for the good news of the gospel of Christ that was demonstrated in the life of the apostle Paul. And I pray that in due time I may also say, I have finished the work that You have given me to do -I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith, to Your praise and glory, this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.