Paul’s life was an amazing example of perseverance through dangers, suffering, and threats of death. According to 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, he experienced imprisonments, beatings, shipwrecks, and dangers from travel, weather, robbers, the Jews, the Gentiles, and false brethren. His goal was to spread the gospel, knowing that it had eternal consequences.

That’s why he was willing to face suffering, rejection, and persecution as he walked obediently with Jesus. Even when he was close to death, he faced it courageously, knowing that he had successfully run the race Christ had given him (2 Timothy 4:7).

“I have fought the good fight.” Paul continually met opposition from those who refused to believe his message about Christ. But even though they mistreated him, he kept declaring the gospel that saved him on the Damascus road.

“I have finished the course.” Paul likened the Christian life to a race and knew that he had accomplished all that the Lord had called him to do. Despite all the hardships, he never gave up but continued to follow Jesus obediently until the day of his death.

“ I have kept the faith.” The truths that Paul learned from the Lord, he faithfully passed on to everyone who would listen, including Timothy, who would carry the message to the next generation. And this same gospel message is still being proclaimed today. We each have the responsibility to keep the faith, defend it, and pass it on to the next generation.

Like Paul, we have a course to run that has been individually chosen for us by God. Since He doesn’t call all of us to accomplish the same things, we can’t compare our lives with anyone else’s life. Our aim should be to stay faithful and obedient to Him in whatever He’s planned for us and to run the race with endurance until the last day of our lives.

Having lived courageously through hardships, Paul had a platform of authority for his message to Timothy. He courageously faced death, knowing that the Lord would bring him safely to His heavenly kingdom. As believers, we have this same promise to give us hope and courage until the day we take our last breath.

How prepared do you feel to face danger or death? Let the promises from God’s Word silence your fears and give you the courage you need to fight the good fight, finish your course, and keep the faith.

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Allen Tilley is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Carthage.

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