“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  [2 Timothy 4:7]

Many years ago when first travelling as an itinerant preacher I was asked the question…”When you were growing up did you compete with your brothers”? I had three brothers but the question was a surprise to me…why would I compete with my brothers!—I later assumed the question was asked because I had been called into what was generally known as a ‘man’s world of preaching’.  Surprised by the question my answer was, “no I compete only with myself.”  Always wanting to do better, reach for greater goal of knowing and serving this awesome God. When we study the life of Paul we find this same passion and motivating force of competition.

Competition requires a powerful passion; it is a healthy emotion or motivator when focused correctly.  It must be focused on the correct goal, not be distracted by the sidelines or those who sit on the bench. Unlike a two team game, competition in the Kingdom is not between players, the other team, those cheering you on, or those in the stands.  Competing in the Kingdom means playing to an audience of One, having a specific goal and playing with wisdom, understanding of the game, going forward at a steady pace, pressing on, a constant reaffirming of the desire, the goal, the passion and the purpose of one’s life.

Paul had a reason for ‘pressing on toward the goal’ his one aim was to be fully engaged with the purpose for which God ‘took hold of him’ –there was something out there, something up there, something other than this earthly realm.  Something glorious that Paul had ‘glimpsed’ and wanted the fullness of!  We run this race to receive the goal, the crown of righteousness— [2 Timothy 4:8a]—this requires we have the attitude and passion that is willing to compete with the game itself.

Reaching for what we believe shall be an eternal reward, our faith informs us as it did Abraham–“Do not be afraid, Abram I am your shield, your very great reward” [Genesis 15:1]

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