2 Timothy 4 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Jeanne Tay, Gracepoint Berkeley

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Sometimes I wonder what Apostle Paul thought of and felt, as he exclaimed these lofty words, which in his case, were representative of reality. What did it mean for him, when he says that he “fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith?”  Maybe he thought of the people he had to fight against, who wanted to alter the gospel, and people who compromised the integrity of the church. Maybe he thought of how he endured against his enemies, and maybe the most difficult of all, how he fought against himself, daily dying to fear, fatigue, danger, disappointment, and humiliation, even from those he loved, and who were closest to him — all the things that can cause anyone to stop fighting, and stop trying for the gospel. Maybe he thought of the fact that he finished the race in that he ran till the end, moving and moving, constantly sharing the gospel and building the church on new ground. And when he thought about how he kept the faith – maybe he thought about how he tried so hard to keep the gospel clear, pure, for the church, teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, and how he kept it in himself, so that at the end of his life, he could still say that of all sinners, he is the worst- because his salvation, his faith in Christ, was still so real and dear to him.

How must I live in order to be able to say along with Apostle Paul, that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith?” How can I try to live as Apostle Paul did, in my context and in my day, which is a million times more comfortable, free of danger, and toil? I live more comfortably and luxuriously than the kings of Apostle Paul’s day. For me, the enemy is not those who can arrest me, stone me; I am not subject to hunger or shipwrecks. But one thing that can shipwreck my faith is the love of this world. One warning from chapter 4 is that I must not love the world. When things got hard, Demas left because he wanted the world. He wanted comfort, he wanted things to be simple, he didn’t want to suffer for the gospel. He didn’t think it was worth it. I must fight against the call of the world to love comfort, seek success, and just look out for me and my family. At Paul’s first defense, no one came to support him but every one deserted him. They were afraid, fearful of their lives probably. They had reason to be fearful of dying, and really losing their life for the gospel. For me, being fearful of losing my life doesn’t involve actually dying. It involves dying to my freedoms, free-time, comfort, and luxuries I enjoy, that I grew up feeling and expecting to be entitled to. This is the fight, and its in the little choices of the day, to help someone in need, to go to a meeting when I just want to relax and enjoy a good book. It is to see that all my time is God’s. I need to accept suffering as a part of life, and a part of Christian life. For me this is huge. I am not very tough, and know that if something were to cause me to stop running the race of Christian life, it is my inability to command my flesh, and my lack of physical discipline. Thinking about Apostle Paul, and Christians all over the world, my experience of suffering is objectively nothing, but it does feel like suffering because I have grown up so privileged.

The race I need to run, is to remember that the main purpose of my life is to share the gospel, and to take as many people I love and meet, to heaven with me, and it’s a race against time, because Satan is at work, seeking to steal and kill and destroy. I have to remember, as I have experienced, that its God’s blessings in my life that can detract me from this main mission: the comfortable life I enjoy in America, my God-given abilities, my new job, my family. I must receive God’s blessings with gratitude, and remember that they belong to God. He gave them to me, and can take them away.

And in the midst of this, I must keep the gospel that has been entrusted to me, intact. Verses 3-4 say “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

I am thankful to be a part of a community that has taught me to love truth, love the gospel, and grow to serve God more and more. I am thankful, that in our comfortable and affluent society, there are people who die to themselves, and run as hard as they can, who have taught me to “keep my head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and discharge all the duties” of ministry, so that as I can follow their footsteps and imitate their lives, as I try to live and be faithful and victorious in the end in our generation.

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Submitted by Sue Yi, Gracepoint Berkeley

How must I live in order to be able to say, along with Apostle Paul that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith?”

As I think about how I must live in order to be able to say along with Apostle Paul that I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,  I have kept the faith — sometimes it’s hard to even compare my life to his  and it seems inappropriate b/c my life is filled with the comforts, freedom and resources of modern America. I have not known hunger, don’t know what it means to be in prison and deserted… my life is void with so much suffering that Apostle Paul went through yet I do have a chance to say along with Apostle Paul that I have fought the good fight.
This really challenges me to live a fully surrendered life to advancing God’s kingdom and making that my purpose and priority.  My time, my money, the blessings of family, my resources, my emotions, my body, cannot be spared. My money, it needs to go into investing not in material gain for myself or family but to meet the needs of people, to meet the needs of the church so that we can do whatever is needed to draw people in to seek God. My time is not something that is mine to advance my personal agendas and to think that it is time that i’ve been given to spend however I want but it is something that I need to give freely of…So much of what I have, I have because of God and I need to live a life that reflects the reality that God has given me everything and I need to be faithful. I am often reminded of Luke 12:48 ” From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded and from the one who has been entrusted with much much more will be asked.” I have so much more than Apostle Paul just in terms of material and resources and with that I want to be faithful to building up the church so that others can know the gospel especially as our church prepares for the fall semester and NSWN, there has been a lot going on and it’s an opportunity for me not to be just be busy but give my best and my all because I know the bigger picture that through this people’s heart can be touched and moved to seek God. I want to be faithful in all things and really experience God.

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One Response to “2 Timothy 4 Devotion Sharing”

  1. Barbara Mona says:

    Apostle Paul’s words of saying “i have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, i have kept the faith”. touched my heart a lot. It takes a hard worker or a slave of Christ to say such words. I ask myself a question that will I be able to stand up and tell people that I have fought a good fight. But in the mean time it also encourages me more to work harder for my Lord. Thank you so much for this article. I’m encouraged to work with boldness and to remember that Greater is He that is in me than the one that is in the world.
    Warm Regards
    Barbara

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