2 Timothy 4:1–8
A new year’s beginning is usually the season for resolutions. Many of us at one time have resolved to eat less, exercise more, shed bad habits, and embrace healthy disciplines. Some scoff at the idea of resolutions, insisting that the proverbial leopard can never change its spots. I’m sad for anyone who does not believe in the possibility of change.
And yet hopeless resignation is often found among God’s people. Despite our teachings that God is at work in us in daily transformation, many of us live with a subconscious conviction that ultimately we’re destined to fail spectacularly. Speaking at a men’s retreat recently, I asked how many of the Christian men present wrestled with the idea that, for them, some moral disaster was not only likely but inevitable. Many of the attendees—and remember that these were the keen ones who were giving up their Saturdays to study Scripture with me—confessed that this was their fear.
Yesterday we heard Paul speaking to Timothy about what one writer called the “beautiful fight.” Paul was able to say that he had held on to faith through the marathon, but this was a retrospective statement. Some years earlier, Paul had addressed the elders at Ephesus—the church where Timothy was now in leadership—and had stated his ambition to run hard and well to the finish line. And here, he was able to look back and see that ambition fulfilled.
Want to run well in the race all the way? You can. Finishing badly is not inevitable. Believe it, and then today reaffirm your resolution to be a winner, for and with Christ.
Pray: Help me to be hopeful and ambitious by Your grace, Lord—that I might run and finish the race as a winner for Your glory. Amen.