Near the end of the Apostle Paul's life, he wrote Timothy and said the following from 2 Timothy 4:7:
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith ."
I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT
The life and ministry of Paul was wrought with conflict, persecution and affliction. He did have seasons of great accomplishment during the early years, but as time went by and the enemy hardened the hearts of those who had once listened to and believed what he taught; those very people who once adored Paul became his enemies and sought to destroy him.
Paul was followed, hunted, slandered, beaten, imprisoned and written off as a crazy old man. By the time he wrote 2 Timothy, his ministry was finished and all those who had once stood with him had forsaken him except for Timothy and a few others. Without question, the life and ministry of Paul was a fight, yet Paul stated proudly that he had "fought the good fight" meaning he never gave up or compromised because things got tough.
I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE
Paul did not quit when the going got tough. One of the things he was most proud of was that he had remained faithful to God his whole life. Paul did not allow all the afflictions, persecutions and tribulations he faced daily to deter him from finishing the course of his life. Through times of solitary confinement in prison and times of adoring throngs wanting him to be their god; Paul remained faithful, humble and ever mindful of the finish line not the race.
Life is a marathon and not a 100 yard dash. Many Christians "burn out" or grow weary and quit this race because they fail to understand that all God wants is for us to finish the race. It matters little to Him whether we come in first or last, all He cares about is that we FINISH. Those facing a questionable future are those who quit the race and return to pleasing themselves instead of serving God.
I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH
Paul guarded THE FAITH of Jesus Christ faithfully his whole life. Paul's life and ministry revolved around the revelation God had given to him regarding THE FAITH of Jesus Christ and all that we received from God when we got born again. Guarding THE FAITH was a huge part of Paul's life in that he refused to let anyone water down, twist or defame the Word of Truth without him objecting and speaking the truth in love.
Paul also "kept the faith" in his personal life. Paul did not yield to the desire to give up because times got tough. Paul did not spend years crying in the corner because people were mean to him. Paul did not sit around all day moaning "why me". No, Paul did not complain or cave into the pressures he faced. To the contrary, he FOUGHT, FINISHED AND KEPT the faith.
When I was a girl, my mother headed up childrens ministries at our church. When I was about nine years old she began a series of lessons on the Life of Paul which was distributed by CEF. I have never forgotten those lessons. I continued to pour over them throughout the years. Needless to say, I am very well acquainted with the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul and have been astonished and grieved to hear some Christians say, "Oh, that's just the Apostle Paul. I don't read those books in the Bible. I stick to the Gospels." Like yourself, I believe Paul wrote these epistles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and they should not be neglected.
Anyway, 2 Timothy 4:7 is a passage which I committed to memory long ago. I have thought about it often over the years. I want to be able to say the same thing at the end of my life. I want to run well.
I was happy to see your blog. I have a very personal connection to the books of Timothy and Paul has inspired me greatly.
Many do not realize the burden they carry as a Christian and expect life to be easy.
I am glad that there are others that are on the same wavelength and my joining this blog site has been uplifting.
I feel grateful to the Holy Spirit for guiding me here.
May God bless you