Following my divorce after 34 years of marriage, a dear friend of mine at the time, gave me probably the best counsel of my life. It was short and sweet, and came in three words…”just finish well“.
That short, but profound piece of counsel, recognized that the marathonic race of my life wasn’t over, and if I could get over the hurdles and the mistakes of the past, I might just be able to finish the race well.
The Apostle Paul said it this way in 2 Timothy 4:7:
” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Cornelia (Corrie) Arnolda Johanna ten Boom, who has been credited with sheltering Jewish refuges in her home during the Holocaust, said that “faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible“.
Faith is intrinsic to finishing the race Paul is referring to in his writings. It keeps us running long after the adrenaline of the starting line wears off. The good news is that Jesus is “the champion who initiates and perfects our faith“.
So what did Paul mean by “fighting the good fight“?
Maybe he meant doing your best to embrace and follow the convictions and teachings of your Christian faith.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
It’s very hard to run, let alone finish, a race when you’re carrying weight – period. Ask any marathon runner. This is why I believe Paul uses that analogy in his writing.
Each of us must ask ourselves then, what weighs us down, and what do we need to shed, so that we can finish the race, and