DAY 23 Winning Edge Devotions
2 TIM. 4: 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
When the clock ends the 3rd quarter of football games, a lot of teams will hold up 4 fingers signifying the last quarter and the need to finish strong. The ability to finish is a difficult habit to develop. I once heard a definition of character as, ‘the resolution to finish a task long after the mood is gone’.
Sometimes the first three quarters have been very tough. Players have aching muscles and incredible fatigue. The excitement and adrenaline is long gone. It now takes a special, deep strength to find the intensity to finish strong.
In the above passage, Paul tells Timothy that his 4th quarter is about over. As Paul looks back, it has been a tough game. He has endured many wearying battles emotionally, physically, and spiritually. He still finds himself in difficult circumstances. Paul tells Timothy that men will turn from the truth and the battle will always be hard.
But Paul also models what we are to do as faithful finishers- one day at a time, faithfully doing our work as ministers of the gospel.
How can we find the ability to do this? It is not natural. Our natural disposition is to start well with high hopes and find it easy to quit before the task is done. The last few inches of the sill are tough to close. The last 5 lbs is the hardest in a diet.
First, there has to be a resolve to do it. You set a goal and you take it seriously enough to complete the task. Having a measurable goal helps in this.
Second, a friend helps. Paul is writing encouragement to Timothy. We all need that helper. At the end of the game, it helps to look around and see your teammates committed to the same thing you are.
Third, we put our head down and just do the next step, play the next play- a little at a time.
Finally, there is a reward for finishing. The greatest satisfaction is finishing a tough task with purpose and energy. As believers, we have a secure hope in heaven!
It’s Day 23- make a decision to finish this path that you have started on!
Lord, I know that I need You if I am to ever to become a good finisher. I need a fourth quarter push. The end is in sight and I want to finish with a lot of heart and hustle. Provide a ‘coach’ to encourage me and keep the reward in mind. Thank you for faithful men like the apostle Paul for their faithful fight! AMEN