If we have an unfounded fear of the world that causes us to retreat from the world, we will fail to bring the light to the world.

Read: 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Ask Yourself & Journal:

•  How doe Paul describe his Christian life in this passage, his farewell address? Can you say the same about your Christian life so far?

Paul is basically saying he had done everything he could, to the best of his ability, never letting up and had no regrets of how he had lived his life for Christ.  He equates life to a fight and that his fight was a good one.  Can I say the same?  No.  Now Paul is a superhero of the faith.  He goes as far as telling the Corinthian church to imitate him, just as he imitated Christ.  I don’t think my life is in a place where I would have the confidence to tell people to imitate me and by doing so they would be imitating Christ.  There may be parts of my life that people could imitate, but I don’t know if I have always been faithful, always fought the good fight, or always run the race.  The good news is that the race and the fight aren’t over.  Jesus specializes in underdogs.

•  Have you ever found yourself running from the world? What made you run?

This ties in to the topic of Day 24 where we talked about being in the world, but not of it.  I think when I run from the world I’m living the “but not of it” portion of the scripture, but leaving out the first half.  In order to live out the entire concept of this verse my race has to be into the world: against the flow.  This fits with Paul’s imagery of running the race and fighting the good fight.  The things that have made me run from the world (and from God’s invitation to be part of his story) are denial, pride, fear and confusion.  These things are the “lactic acid” that grips me during the race and fight.  If I haven’t trained properly or learned how to fight through that pain, then I’ll be one of those runners who quits the race or a fighter who throws in the towel.

•  What is something you consider worth fighting for? Why?

Two things come to mind.  One, is my integrity.  I’m still fighting this one.  And it’s not really my integrity for my sake, but for the Lord’s sake.  If I can’t show up somewhere on time, or disappear for a day, or people try to call me and I don’t answer I am not a good reflection of Christ.  This is worth fighting for.  The second thing is my relationship with my girlfriend.  She has been such a gift in such a short amount of time and she is a person worth fighting for.  When God gives us gifts do we just stick it in the closet?  No!  When the grace of Jesus is so great that he graces you with a person that you wonder what you did to deserve, you fight tooth and nail for that gift.  

  • How is the Church viewed in your culture? If it is viewed as irrelevant and withdrawn, what can you do to change that?
I believe in the American culture the church is viewed as irrelevant and for past generations.  It’s not viewed as an effective changer of culture or at least any effect it has on culture is viewed as being a negative effect.  The way to change that is to BE the church outside of the walls of our religious institutions.  Socially, economically, artistically, our effect on culture should be such that people ask to go to church with us.  And when they do come, they won’t experience anything different than the church we were already living among them.

Listen & Pray: JESUS my REWARD, if I’m honest, I often loose my will to fight.  My courage and my vision vanish and I no longer want to risk my life.  Be my strength. I don’t ever want to exchange a mind-set of attach and advance for one of survival and retreat.  Teach me to remain actively engaged in the spiritual battle to which I have been enlisted.