I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy 4:7
Paul has kept the most vital thing for last: "I have kept the faith." He fought the good fight, he finished the race, but the most important thing is that he kept the faith. Despite the challenges, the difficulties, the persecutions, and everything else, Paul stood firm in his faith, and did not waver.
Think of the last time you wrote a lengthy letter or email to someone you don't have frequent contact with. What were the last few things you wrote at the end of that letter? Highly likely they were some important things you wanted to tell that person, and you put it at the end of your letter so that it would stand out to the recipient after he or she read your letter.
In light of that, let us look at the last thing Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:20-21:
O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge--by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
The last thing that Paul told Timothy was to guard his faith.
In the world today there are innumerable things that Satan will throw at us to make us doubt God and renounce Christ. Evolution and atheism are just two of many. The enemy is throwing rocks of faithlessness at us, and we must fight the good fight (see my post Fighting The Fight).
The Hebrew word for keep, shamar, and the Greek word for keep, toreo, both refer to a military guarding of a trust. When Satan trues to create breaches in our faith with his cannon of disbelief, we must fortify the walls of our faith and be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks us a reason for the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15). And if we do not spend time studying God's Word, how will we be able to give any defense? ESSENTIAL. Remember that from my post, Do We Know Him? There is nothing more essential to a Christian's walk than studying God's Word. It will equip us to fight the good fight, it will be our endurance to finish the race strong, and it will be our strength to keep the faith.
You see, keeping the faith is part of the good fight. How else can we guard ourselves from the fiery darts of the wicked one except by using the shield of faith? And if we don't keep watch over our faith, and it gets snatched away, what protection have we against those darts?
There is proof in the Bible that Paul and other apostles truly kept the faith, and wasn't lying when he said that he kept--guarded and defended--the faith. Over and over the book of Acts records instances where the apostles were called upon to give a defense for the faith. Acts 4:1-22, Acts 5:22-32, Acts 7, Acts 11:1-18, Acts 17:16-34, Acts 21:26-23:7, Acts 24, Acts 25 and Acts 26 are all passages where Stephen, Peter and Paul defended the faith. They didn't make things up of mumble excuses. They didn't waver in their faith or compromise, no matter what the cost. Stephen, Peter, Paul and all the other apostles were mortal men like you and I. Without the help of the Lord God Almighty no man could brave death in defense of the faith. Do we have such faith? Is our faith in God so secure that we can face martyrdom if need be? Time are getting worse, and the chances are increasing where we may eventually be called upon to give our lives up for Christ.
Most of us here have no such fear of police breaking up our church and arresting us all, but we may face things such as being ridiculed or shunned. Do we love Christ enough to keep the faith? Will we be able to say when we die, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith"?
Blog Post IndexWhat Is Christmas? He Said Be Still Don't Fake It As Iron Trusting God With Goals True Friends You Have Been Called To Liberty We Overcome Memories With God All Things Are Possible Is Our Light Shining? Paul's Last Words #10: Conclusion Paul's Last Words #9: Our Faithful Lord Paul's Last Words #8: Who Are We Like? Paul's Last Words #7: Loving His Appearing Paul's Last Words #6: Keeping The Faith Paul's Last Words #5: Running The Race Paul's Last Words #4: Fighting The Fight Paul's Last Words #3: As A Drink Offering Paul's Last Words #2: Your Ministry Paul's Last Words #1: I Charge You Unicorns in the Bible Riches: Good or Bad? Do We Know Him? If There Was No Tomorrow As I Have Loved You Following Christ Forgiveness Faith and Works #4 (Final Part): Dead Faith Faith and Works #3: Works Are Your Witness Faith and Works #2: Works Aren't It Faith and Works #1: What Does It Profit? A God Who Approves Cannibalism? Happy The One Who Dashes Not Everyone Who Says To Me, "Lord" Rightly Dividing The Word?