Journal Entry // October 16, 2021
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.2 Timothy 4:7 ESV
I have lulled myself into a complacent mindset over the past two decades of my spiritual journey and have allowed myself to become too enamored with this world. When I think of the Christian life, I tend to picture it as a journey or a walk down a path laid before me by God himself. This path has many twists and turns to be sure and I remember that it goes through hills and valleys, but I neglect something in this picture that occurs within my mind. Paul reminds me here that this path/journey is a fight and a race. Not a leisurely stroll through this world, but one of confrontation, exertion, and strife.
I think what has infected my thoughts over the years is my tendency to picture my journey as just that. MY journey. That it is a personal, private, secret experience between God and myself. I picture the journey down the path as me and Jesus, alone and together. But that is not entirely true. The Bible is filled with calls for community and partnership. This journey is a fight and a race. And I am not alone. God has given me a spouse, family, friends, church community, and teachers to walk this journey with me. To help me continue faithfully in the journey as we battle together.
For this journey has an enemy that is against us. This enemy despises and hates me. This enemy fights me every single moment of every single day, whether I acknowledge it or not and whether I fight against him or not. This enemy wants to destroy me. How can he destroy me? Losing faith and turning my back on Christ by embracing the world. This is what Paul is reminding me this morning, that my faith in Christ is the prize worth fighting for. Christ is the object of my faith and he is the motivation to persevere and press on in this journey.
Over the past year, I have been thinking more about this journey in view of the book, The Hobbit, as I think about the path Bilbo and the dwarves took through the forest of Mirkwood. The darkness, the fear, the enemies set against them. They had to fight and they had to finish the race through the forest to reach their destination. There was a path that would lead them safely through, if they only stayed firm on the path and fought well. I like this picture because it helps me think about this journey of faith as well. That I am walking with Christ along the path, filled with hills and valleys, enemies, struggle, fighting.
I want to keep a good perspective on this journey. It is a fight and I must finish well, but Jesus has laid the path before me and walks with me. He will keep me safe from the enemy. He will fight the good fight with me. He will strengthen me to finish the race. He will ensure the maturing of my faith. There is no fear of the enemy. The path may go through the valley of the shadow of death, but I will fear no evil. For Christ is with me. He comforts me and strengthens me. All for his glory and namesake.