1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
I love watching sports. During the Olympics games, I sometimes spend hours watching the different races as athletes from different countries compete. The most thrilling foot race is the Marathon. It is rather funny how the Marathon starts filled with a bunch of excited people keen as mustard to get off the milestones and finish the forty two-kilometre race. The gun goes off and hundreds of athletes jostle elbows and frantically break out at express speed. The eventual winners of the race are mostly never the first ones out of the starting line. They calm themselves, keep a constant speed and slowly they pass the excited fellows who took off with high speed. These sprinters burn out within a kilometre. In some cases, almost half the athletes forfeit the race because they planned the race wrong.
The Mega-Church Pastor
Paul is not advising his son in the faith Timothy, of the “logistics and technicalities” of the Christian life. He is reminding him of the goal of the race; the purpose of joining the race. Some believers are like the athletes who shoot out from the starting line, yet a few minutes later they are out of the race. The Christian life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. It is made up of continuous long-term obedience in the same direction. Starting is easy but finishing the right way is a whole different affair. On the way to the expected end, we face several and significant challenges. Some even demoralise our efforts. Nevertheless, for the believer whose burdens were lifted and surrendered at Golgotha, there is hope to persevere (2 Chronicles 20:15).
Just like Timothy, we also must learn the secret of going the distance. Timothy was already too young to be a leader of a big church like Ephesus. To add salt to the injury the young man had a timid personality. His responsibility as the episcopal leader required a stern countenance, especially among the false teachers who had risen. Timothy had to refute their errors and lead the church on the right path (1 Timothy 6:3). This robust responsibility is the reason Paul is writing a letter to encourage, exhort and remind him of the objectives ahead of him.
The Pillars of Fighting
When you read the verses before this one, Paul first commands him to flee evil and worldliness and to pursue righteousness, love, patience, faith, and gentleness. These foundational pillars need to be in place before Timothy fights the fight of faith. We must understand that unless our roots are deeply rooted in purity and pursuit of righteousness we are like the sprinters running a marathon. We can not cover the distance, or endure like good soldiers of faith until we take hold of eternal life.
God is asking you today to stand upright again and let down your roots till they sink in Christ (Colossians 2:6-7). The beautiful thing about God’s request is that you and I are not the first to go through this. He has given those who came before us strength to go the distance and if we seek to obey His word He will give us too.
King James Version (KJV)
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
New International Version (NIV)
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made[e] the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
New American Bible (NASB)
“Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“Fight on for God. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you and that you have confessed with such a ringing confession before many witnesses.”