For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
-2 Timothy 4:6-8 (King James Version)
In studying the letters of Paul, and studying his life as found in Acts, you can tell that Paul was a man full of faith. He also endured his share of trials as he preached the Good News of Jesus Christ. Now, as he is nearing the end of his life and ministry on earth (well, maybe not his ministry, because it lives on, even today) he is writing some last minute instructions to Timothy. Timothy was a man Paul considered to be his son. The verses I want to focus on isn't any last minute instructions, but rather some last minute encouragement that Timothy will need. Well, we need as well.
In verse 6, Paul is reminding Timothy that his time of departure is near. Paul knew he was going to die, and he was ready. Paul knew there was more ready for him in Heaven. Verse 8 says, "There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Paul was one of the greatest evangelists that ever lived. He established churches, his teaching made many people come to Christ, and now, at the point of his death, he was looking ahead to Heaven. He knew what was to come. I've heard so many people saying things like, "We don't know what Heaven will be like." or "We just hope it will be better than it is here." Paul was ready for what was to come to him, and I believe he was looking forward to it. Notice, though, his words. "There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness....and not to me only, but unto all them that also love his appearing." If you've given your life to Christ, there is a crown of righteousness waiting for you! Isn't that exciting? When we get to Heaven, we'll finally be all that God wants us to be. We'll no longer battle evil desires and temptations, we'll not longer deal with trials. We'll be right before God. Does that mean we should just give up and not strive to be the people Jesus wants us to be? No. Look at verse 7.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Paul has fought the good fight. Paul has defended the faith. If you take time and study Paul's life in Acts, you will see that he was stoned, he was thrown in jail, all for his faith. Earlier in this chapter, Paul warns Timothy that there is coming a time when people will no longer want to hear the truth, they will only listen to what they want to listen to (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Sounds like today. He told Timothy to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). He is preparing Timothy to fight the good fight.
Paul also finished his course. All of us has tasks that we must accomplish. Are you allowing the will of God to control your life? When Paul was stoned because of his preaching, it would have been easy for him to walk away from the Lord. Many Christians wouldn't have blamed him. Yet, Paul knew it was more important for him to fulfill the Will of God in his life, than to take the easy way out. Are you finishing the course that Jesus laid out for you?
Finally, Paul kept the faith. In spite of opposition, in spite of difficulty, in spite of persecution, Paul kept his faith intact. Can you say the same?
Friends, take these words from Paul, and use them as a measuring stick for your life. Are you fulfilling the Will of God in your life? Are you fighting the good fight? Are you finishing the course that Jesus laid out for you? Is your faith intact in spite of your surroundings? Think About It.