Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
Society, it would seem, is obsessed with winning. To that end, there are numerous products out there that make claims about being a necessity to win. Other products imply, via advertising, that only a winner would use their product. The idea is that not using that product makes you an automatic loser.
Athletics makes it worse. Not only do you have to contend with the various products, you also have to contend with what team you support. If your chosen team does not win, not only have they lost the game, but you are now branded as a loser as well. Now it may sound unfair, and it is, but that is the way the secular world views and how they want you to view it.
It does not have to be that way. Indeed, in 2 Timothy we read “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. What race could the Apostle Paul be talking about? Indeed, what sort of fight is deemed a good fight? It would almost seem strange to hear to something like this from such a man as Paul. Yet, these words are more meaningful than just some athletic event.
The Apostle Paul was facing the end of his ministry and his life. He had spent a considerable number of years contending for the Christian faith. He had given it his all and was looking forward to the only reward that mattered. This prize was nothing less than the righteousness of God Almighty and everlasting life. Paul, a former persecutor of the church, had spent many years preaching the Gospel of Christ Jesus and was now under house arrest in Rome, awaiting what would ultimately be his beheading.
Paul believed firmly that he had done all he could to preach and hold fast to the faith, as it was first revealed to him on the road to Damascus and affirmed in the house on Straight (yes, this really is a road in Damascus). Now, as his life was drawing to close, he was prepared to lose it for the sake of the Gospel. In that regard, Paul firmly, and rightly, believed that he had done all he could do in contending and standing firm in the faith.
Paul, by most accounts, was indeed a winner. Maybe not in terms of worldly goods and possessions. Rather, his reward would be something that is beyond human comprehension. This reward is one that we should all strive for. In that regard, the world can not tell us whether or not we are winners or losers. No, that judgment is reserved to be made by God alone.
Worldly possession and athletic teams can not determine who are winners or losers. These things are truly meaningless. True victory can only be found in Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul was well aware of this. As far as he was concerned, the only true race, the fight that was most important, was that of standing firm and contending for the faith.
What about you? When you are approaching your last days, will you be able to say the same? If you have truly sought to live life as Christ has commanded us, then you should be able to answer “Yes”. If not, then now is the time to repent and seek him and his word, while you still have the time. You do not know, any more than Paul did, when you will breathe your last. You can try to say that it can wait until tomorrow or next week, but you can not know that you really have tomorrow or next week. Now is the only time you really have.
The only true winners will be those who stood firm in the faith. They will receive a crown of righteousness and everlasting life. Those who fall away will find that only Hell and everlasting torment await them. The Apostle Paul chose to stand firm, will you?