|Volume 23 Number 5 May 2021
Ronald D. Reeves
As Christians, we have been successfully drawn unto Christ, making Christ our spiritual focal point. Those things that we emphasized in the past when we were dominated by the power of sin should no longer be the center of our interests. Accordingly, our activities throughout life should be governed by His will, accompanied by a personal dedication to come to a better knowledge of the will of the Lord. We, therefore, should develop a pattern of increasingly being dissatisfied with the wisdom of men, to which we must not turn in matters wherein the Lord has legislated. Thus, the priorities of Christ will increasingly become our personal priorities, and a new direction and set of priorities will emerge from the rubble of a prior sin-stained life. As we grow unto perfection, may we draw other men and women unto Christ, Who is now the center of our lives. Yes, the fulfillment of evangelism finds its root in a Christ-centered life. Even though none of us have lived or will live perfectly, may we better be able to forgive self as the Lord genuinely forgives us so that we may be spiritual guides to those about us.
You Can Do This
While on a mountain and after giving the apostles the Great Commission, Jesus said, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:20). Before ascending to Heaven to be with the Father, our Lord gave these men (and us) the assurance that He would be with them to the finish line (cf., Hebrews 13:5; 12:1-3).
Later in the New Testament, we have another example of a great servant of God who was also concerned about believers not making it to the finish line. One of the themes of 2 Timothy is to finish the course, to stay in the race and to not shrink back in faith and give up (Hebrews 10:39). Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 about fighting the good fight, finishing the course and keeping the faith. Going back to 2 Timothy 2:1-8, Paul encouraged Timothy (and us) to learn obedience like a soldier, the rules of the athlete and the patience of a farmer.
Remembering and believing the words of Jesus and the apostle Paul, the question is, “How do we keep from quitting and stay in the race?” Paul gave the answer in 2 Timothy 2. First, he encouraged Christians to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (v. 1). It will be His grace that will enable us to finish the race. We cannot run this race and make it to the finish line on our own. Remember, we are not alone (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).
Second, Paul reminded Timothy, ‘‘Remember that Jesus Christ, the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to [the] my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8). When we live our lives from day to day and act like Jesus is not alive and present in our lives, it will greatly affect whether we will finish the race and cross the finish line. Paul finished his words of encouragement with this affirmation, ‘‘Therefore, I endured all things for the elect [chosen ones], that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10). Do you want to make it to the finish line? Paul said to be strong in the grace of Christ and remember He has risen, and we are not alone.