Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In.
2 Timothy 4.6-8
Do you give up easily, or are you a fighter? Well, you like to think of yourself as a fighter, but how do you really know? Take your New Years’ Resolution ~ ha, well – you know you had one, but exactly what it was …now that is a little fuzzy. Why? Truth be told, it has been more than a month now, and any lasting change will probably come in another way. Somehow your resolution shifted from a set plan to a firm notion, then to a good idea, but you gave yourself a pass because of Covid...lots of people are doing that you know. Lots of people have stopped fighting for the best, right thing.
Similarly, when you run into a little interference in your Christian life, do you sorta’ distance yourself from it—all the while talking to yourself, rationalizing that you had probably been a little overboard anyway? I mean, after all, it IS popular to be spiritual, but a whole lot less popular to be a committed Christian. As my bodyguard, the Duke of Earl, (from ministry days in Long Beach)1, would ask, “Seriously, are you a champion?” He meant a champion does not give up … he finds a way to persevere, a way to win -- some way, somehow, no matter what’. Champions are deeply committed, competitive because they believe in their cause, and know that the prize is/or will be worth it all. Champions always have their eye on the finish line.
Not everyone who starts the race finishes the race—have you noticed? In his letter to Timothy, Paul queried, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”2 So why do some of us finish strong, while others bail out somewhere along the way?
Because SOME have decided they will never give up! Since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.3
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.4
So let us not grow weary in goodness~ “for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”5 And that was the point – that was the reason Paul persevered. Paul would not give up because he knew that there was something greater than he had experienced in this life; indeed, he was waiting at the door of eternity, loving God, and telling others of the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ- no matter what it cost him. [for Paul, he knew it was about to cost him his very life under the sadistic rule of Nero].
As followers of Jesus, we make a pact that we will love God, and love one another – so help us God. Paul emphatically stated: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” Man, I am drawn to that statement! I want it to be my statement ~ my legacy.
Perhaps that is the litmus test —
fight the good fight,
finish the race, and stay faithful.
Decide now that the Crown that is promised is worth it all! It is not just the fight – a good fight – it is finishing the race … and in so doing, staying faithful. In staying faithful, the crown of Heaven … forever. That is what kept Paul going, no matter what he faced—storm, prison, shipwreck, torture, and ultimately martyrdom—he knew of whom he had believed, and he knew that he was faithful. There has never been another such as Paul. Let his life inspire you, Friend, no matter what storm you face; do not give up, and do not give in.
Found this song - Finish Strong - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfjsD0dHz1Y
Let's finish the race together!
1 - http://pastorwoman.com/FTBAll.aspx?Category=Ministry+tales+from+the+Street
2 - 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
3 – 2 Timothy 4.1
4 - 2 Timothy 4.6-8. NLT
5 – Galatians 6.9