Keep Your Head in the Game
A few years ago, I had the brilliant idea to paint our master bathroom. Not able to draw a straight line with a pencil, let alone paint one with a brush, I opted to use painter’s tape to eliminate extra work. With everything trimmed out in fancy blue tape, I started rolling the first coat of paint on the walls.
Our bathroom really isn’t that big, but once it came to cutting in corners and carefully painting around fixtures, my original idea to tackle this project myself had lost its appeal. I’d even done my research and gotten the right tools for the job, to no avail.
I started well —but didn’t anticipate the amount of time it would take to finish. The result? Our bathroom boasted a two-tone look and was decorated with blue painter’s tape for countless months. I finally had to admit I didn’t want to sacrifice the time to finish the job. I ended up paying someone else to complete what I had begun.
Starting versus finishing
Starting well is easy; finishing well takes perseverance
This is something that is critically important in our spiritual lives. As believers we’re involved in an unseen battle. Just because we can’t see our enemies doesn’t mean they don’t exist:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12. KJV
The apostle Paul was careful to warn Timothy to stay engaged in the spiritual battle (1 Timothy 6:11). To flee from the snares that would cause him to compromise: false teaching, being a poor example, desiring stuff, quitting the ministry. And to pursue the things that would please His Heavenly Father: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness.
In order to finish well, Timothy would have to live intentionally and “fight the good fight of faith,” (1 Timothy 6:12). He needed to focus on sharing the gospel and living in a way that would radiate the agape love of Christ. It wouldn’t be easy — it would require a lifetime of discipline and purpose.
Paul’s admonition applies just as much to us, as it did in Timothy’s time. Each day we have the opportunity to stay engaged in the spiritual war that’s raging. Instead of going along with today’s popular teachings, we can stand for the truth of God’s Word and share it with a spirit of love (Ephesians 4:15).
Instead of living selfishly, we can be the right kind of example — submitting to the Holy Spirit so He can produce good fruit in our lives that will positively affect family and friends (Galatians 5:22-23). Yes, it will require continual effort, but what a joy at the end of life’s journey to be able to say with the apostle Paul:
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7, KJV
As you evaluate your life, are you engaged in the spiritual battle? Are you drifting or living intentionally? What’s one thing from Paul’s admonition to Timothy that you could apply today that will help you finish well? Let’s talk about it! Share your thoughts here in the comments below then visit our Facebook page for suggested reading, daily devotional questions, and further discussion.
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the book of 1 Timothy. It's a book rich with examples that apply to us today. There is a very real battle going on within and around us, and we need Your help to stay actively engaged. Help us run after the things that please You, and be people with pure hearts, good consciences, and sincere faith. Help us not only to begin well, but to finish well. We'll praise You for all You do, in Jesus' name, Amen.Leave a comment on my wall if this post helped you
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