by Richard Mansel, assistant editor
The Apostle Paul illustrates resolve and courage in the face of opposition. He refused to back down in the battle with Satan (Ephesians 6:10-17). We must learn to be so committed, even in the face of fear and opposition. There is no choice if we wish to fulfill our goal of eternal peace.
We must remember that any fight worth fighting is worth finishing. Take a moment and let that sink in. The impact can be powerful.
If the Christian life is worth living, it is worth finishing. If Christ is worthy of being Lord today, he is worthy tomorrow. He does not just cease to be the answer because our circumstances change. He does not fluctuate like the stock market and public opinions polls. He is the Lord and always will be (Psalm 119:89).
If Christ were always the Lord, then why would we give up on him? What reason would we give? Where would we go that was better? What other perfect Lord would we find? In 1 Kings18:17-40, Elijah proves how silly it is to follow other gods.
In Savannah, we have the waving girl statue on River Street that honors the life of Florence Martus. For forty years, she came out to greet the incoming ships on the Savannah River. During the day she would wave a cloth and at night, a lantern. She went every day, regardless of what others thought about her. She had a mission and refused to stop.
During the Beijing Olympics, the men and women’s track teams had serious problems with the 4×100 relays. They each mishandled the baton and were disqualified.
However, in the women’s race, Lauryn Williams did something different. She went back, picked up the baton and finished the race. They had no hope of winning but she did it anyway because she had traveled too far and trained to hard not to finish. People still mock her for wasting her time. However, she finished regardless of what anyone else said.
As Christians, we also must finish the race regardless of what anyone thinks.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
People stood against Paul and he refused to back down. Jesus was mocked, ridiculed and assaulted. He kept fighting. Satan will come at us with all that he has. Fight back anyway (James 4:7).
Paul withstood extraordinary persecutions and challenges (2 Corinthians 11:22-28). Amazingly, Paul said his sufferings were “light” (2 Corinthians 4:17). How would ours qualify in the larger scheme of things?
Why do we give up so easily? Someone is insulted by another Christian and leaves the Lord. Do we consider how illogical this is? “They hurt me and to get back at them I will spend an eternity in hell! That will show them!” How silly!
Florence Martus and Lauryn Williams knew they were doing the right thing and accomplished it despite ridicule. We will all face hostility and mocking as we forge through life committed to righteousness. We will miss certain activities and lose friends and family members. Remain righteous anyway. We simply have no other alternative, if we will aspire to heaven (Revelation 2:10).