The Battle and the Race

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7).

When the apostle Paul says these words, he is in the last days of his life; inwardly, he has the testimony that the day of his departure is near.

History tells us that Paul died in martyrdom. Even so, there is a tone of satisfaction, of rest, for having fulfilled his task: he fought the good fight; his career is coming to an end. It is common to find in his letters these expressions: Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Cor. 9:26-27).

In his thinking, there is no place for numbness or for spiritual lethargy. His first battle has to do with himself: aware of the vileness of his nature, he hits his body, in other words, he does not give himself licenses. His calling is so precious and great that he does not waste time and puts all his energies to the service of his Lord.

Many times we find him struggling with the religious Jews; others times, facing the works of the devil and always urging believers to be faithful to the Lord. He commands his son Timothy to strive for grace and to even suffer hardships as a good soldier of Jesus Christ - not just a soldier- but a good soldier. There are many who are struggling, but their battle is misdirected; there are many who run as athletes but are not crowned since they do not battle legitimately (2 Tim. 2:5).

There are at least two objectives that all believers must have very clear. First, that it is the will of God that every day we become more like his Son Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). And second, that the purpose of Christ is to obtain his body, the glorious Church with which he will reign for eternity (Eph. 5:27, Ap. 19:7).

Our particular objectives can be very legitimate, our daily needs, and it is right that we strive and battle for these secondary objectives, such as the family welfare, the secular work, our children’s education, etc. However, we must never lose sight of the glorious divine objectives set out above.

God will be with us in everything that we do by favoring the life of the spirit, even if it involves suffering, since our carnal nature always opposes resistance (Rom. 8:13). Also, God’s favor will be with everything that contributes to building up the body of Christ. Any of our attitude or comments that divide, damage or harm the image of the other sons of God, will be a vain struggle, and the spiritual dryness will not tarry since the Spirit of God is saddened and will never support a divisive and carnal heart.

That we may be like Paul, that like him we may fight the good fight and run the race and keep this beautiful faith along with the other brothers in spiritual communion. By doing this, we will please the Lord and when our days come to an end, in this earthly scene, we will have rest for having pleased Him who made us his soldiers.

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