A tombstone simply said, "I told you I was sick"! The tombstone of a gunfighter read, "Here lies Zeke - the second fastest gunfighter in Cripple Creek". The apostle Paul was near the end of his life when he said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (II Timothy 4:7). The words could be chiseled on his tombstone as a summation of the life he lived.
The words speak of a fight that Paul was willing to engage in. The real struggle of mankind is the struggle between good and evil. It is the struggle between truth and error. Paul enlisted as a soldier for Christ. He did not set by in the neutral position. In regards to this spiritual conflict he was not a pacifist. He became a part of the conflict and "fought the good fight".
The words speak of a well mapped out course that he would not deviate from. Paul knew that God had a purpose for his life. Like the wise man of the past he knew that to "fear God and keep His commandments" was the whole duty of man (Eccl.12:13). Let others wander here and there but Paul would "finish the course" that God had for his life. Let us do likewise.
The words speak of that which must be safeguarded - the faith. The world is full of things that will test our resolve to keep the faith. Things that pull and tug at our faith. Things that would, if they could, weaken, corrupt or destroy our commitment to the faith. When these things happen let us "work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12) so that we can say in that last day that we have "kept the faith".
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