My Ultimate Goal

Posted on July 7, 2020

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By David Ettinger

Nearing the End
His days were down to a precious few. As the apostle Paul languished in a dark, dank, and dreary Roman dungeon, he thought of his beloved adopted son Timothy.

In fact, he was endeavoring to put the final touches on his last epistle, that to Timothy, the leader of the church in Ephesus. Appropriately, the letter Paul was writing would eventually be known as “2 Timothy.”

Paul had spent three-fourths of the letter giving his young charge spiritual and practical advice, and then, toward the end, he diverged briefly to tell Timothy something very personal. Knowing his time on Earth was all but over, Paul briefly looked back over the course of His Christian walk, and with great passion declared:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

In this pronouncement, Paul established for every believer in the Lord Jesus the ultimate personal goal he or she should aspire to.

What It Means
In making this proclamation, Paul was in no way being arrogant or cocky. Rather, he was stating a quiet and confident truth which was forged in blood, sweat, and tears. He had lived the true Christian life – laying that life on the line numerous times and often barely escaping with it.

Paul knew that as death hung over him – he died shortly following penning 2 Timothy – he had done everything God had asked of him. He had devoted his life to His Lord and Savior, bringing the Gospel to multitudes, and always at the cost of his own wants, comforts, and desires. If there was ever a man who was “sold out” to God, it was Paul.

Because of it – because he had fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith – God assured him that his place in Heaven was waiting for him, and that he would be greatly rewarded when he arrived.

My Ultimate Goal
My ultimate goal  is that when it comes to the day of my departure from this earth, I will be able to speak these same words. Of course I have other desires, particularly that all of my loved ones and friends come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but this is my greatest personal goal.

In saying this, I understand that being able to proclaim that I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith means that I have a lived my entire Christian life without straying from God’s presence and will. Of course I have stumbled – we all do – but so far in 34 years, I have never turned away from God. Yes, I have sinned and not always obeyed Him as I should, but I have endured in Him.

But though life is short, it is also long when viewed as something which needs to be lived day by day, hour by hour, and moment by moment. Each moment contains spiritual pitfalls and dangers which threaten to hijack our walks with Christ. Temptation daily hounds the believer, and pressures of a God-hating world often wage war on our fortitude and desire to serve Him.

This is why Paul’s marvelous profession is so encouraging and fortifying. I know I will never face the challenges Paul did, but I can use his life – his very words – as the foundation on which to build my own. To do what Paul says – to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith – means shaping my life in order to accomplish it.

Paul’s proclamation is the desire of my life, and my ultimate goal. I hope it is yours as well!