Paul reflects on the past: “I have fought the good fight.” He reviews the present: “the time of my departure is at hand.” And as he looks into the future he sees, “the crown of righteousness!” When he considered his years of struggling with the flesh, the world, and the devil Paul could say, “I stood up.” “I did not lie down and let the enemy walk all over me.” “I have fought the good fight.” Many athletes fall short in the final round, the fourth quarter, or the last lap. Its one thing to start well but how you finish is what really matters. Paul had that deep satisfaction of being able to say, “I have finished the race.” He stayed the course and never veered from the great truths and doctrines in the Word of God. At the end of his life he could say, “I have kept the faith.” If we belong to Christ there is also a course set before each of us. We have the same opportunity to run well, to stay on track, and to finish the race. We can fight the good fight of faith!
“The time of my departure is at hand.” Like a ship being untied from its moorings in the harbor, Paul is ready to set sail. He is ready to be untied from the earth; loosed from the body and its limitations. Death to Paul means casting off for the greatest adventure of all. Though he was to die a martyr’s death, for him the executioner’s chopping block was an altar and the ax the means of the sacrifice. He would pour himself out for Christ in death as he had in life. If our departure were at hand would we be as confident? Paul’s confidence came from a life of trusting in Christ. Can you look back and see a rich and wonderful past with Jesus? Can you look forward to a glorious future with Him? Paul trusted Jesus for a robe of righteousness, and facing death he could trust Him for a crown. We shall all come to that day when we will pass from this life. Will we be able to say like the Apostle Paul, “my life was poured out for Christ?”
- From Study #5158