ITERO 2020 – The Christian Life – Week 7
Fighting the Good Fight, Finishing the Course,
and Loving the Lord’s Appearing
2 Tim. 4:7
7 I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith.
1 Therefore let us also, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us,
24 But I consider my life of no account as if precious to myself, in order that I may finish my course and the ministry which I have received from the Lord Jesus to solemnly testify of the gospel of the grace of God.
1 Cor. 9:24-26
24 Do you not know that those who run on a racecourse all run, but one receives the prize? Run in this way, that you may lay hold.
25 And everyone who contends exercises self-control in all things; they then, that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we, an incorruptible.
26 I therefore run in this way, not as though without a clear aim; I box in this way, not as though beating the air;
12 Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
13 Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before,
14 I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward.
The most important thing in the Christian life is to seek out the journey which the Lord has ordained and faithfully walk on it. A poor phenomenon among believers today is that many have not found the journey that the Lord has ordained for them. Some, even though they have found it, do not walk on it. This is the reason that their living is filled with so much spiritual death, gloom, and restriction, and this is the reason that there are so many conflicts and arguments in God’s work. The most important task for each of us is to put ourselves into God’s hand in a quiet, patient, prayerful, consecrated, and obedient way and wholeheartedly seek after His leading. We should be willing to obey Him and act only in accordance with His will. We should pray that He reveal to us the journey He has designated for us. After this, we should pay any price to wholeheartedly walk on it. (CWWN, vol. 10, p. 424)
The entire Christian life is a race. This race is not for obtaining eternal life. On the contrary, only those who already have eternal life are qualified to run the race. At the end of the race, some will receive a crown, while others will not receive a crown (1 Cor. 9:24-25).
Receiving the crown means to obtain the kingdom, which is to become kings to reign and receive glory with the Lord Jesus….There is no problem with a Christian obtaining eternal life. However, his obtaining of the kingdom depends on how he runs the race….All his words, conduct, thoughts, living, and everything about him have to do with whether or not he will obtain the kingdom in the future….Our abandon, consecration, faithfulness, and victory will make us those that receive the crown. But those who desire the world and walk according to their flesh will see that although they have eternal life through the Lord Jesus, the kingdom of heaven is still not theirs.
God has put the kingdom before us, and He has given us a race to run. At the end of the race, we will see if we have failed or won. The winner will reign with the Lord, while the loser, though saved, will have nothing to do with the glory of the kingdom. The race is already set, and those who want to run have to “put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” [Heb. 12:1]. There are two crucial things in running a race. First, we have to lay aside every weight, and second, we have to put away our sin.
Those who run the race should not only lay aside the sin which so easily entangles them and every weight but should also run the race that is set before them with endurance. Why with endurance? Because the prize is not given at the beginning of the race, nor is it given in the middle of the race. Rather, it is given at the end—the very last step—of the race. We may run well at the start, and we may even run well at the mid-point, but we will not necessarily run well at the end. A victory involves winning at the beginning, at the mid-point, and at the end. Before reaching the end, we cannot guarantee that we will win the prize. We may fail in the last five steps. Once in a two hundred meter running race, a man was ahead of the other competitors by twenty meters at first. No one expected that he would fall down just two meters before the finish line. If we want to win the race, we have to be careful. We cannot say that we will surely win the prize before reaching the end. Even Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue” (Phil. 3:12). How about us? (CWWN, vol. 17, pp. 229-231, 234)
Further Reading: HWMR The Christian Life, the Church Life, the Consummation of the Age, and the Coming of the Lord – Week 7, Day 3
Corporate Reading of “The Basic Revelation in the Holy Scriptures” Chapter 2 – Sections: Becoming the Life-giving Spirit; Breathing into His Believers; Exalted
(c) Living Stream Ministry, 2016, used by permission