“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” – James 1:2-4 (NIV).
There is an aspect of law known as death bed confession. These are often the last words someone says before breathing their last. It is assumed that a person who realizes he is close to death has no reason to lie but say the most important of things.
Towards the end of his life the Apostle Paul wrote to his mentee Timothy about what he clearly saw as the most important of things. One aspect that comes out strongly is the exhortation for him to persevere in the faith. Why? Ever since his salvation Paul had encountered innumerable difficulties. Once he had written to the Christians in Corinth, “Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea” (2 Cor 11:25, NLT).
Here now he urges Timothy to remember, “holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith” (1 Tim 1:19). Having suffered desertions and false accusations, Paul urges him, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (I Tim 4:16).
Drawing parallels to an athlete in a race, Paul sums up his life, “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 appearance” ( 2 Tim 4:6).
Today, may you walk in that assurance. Keep the faith.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of creation, heaven and earth, I pray to persevere in faith, for victory is at hand!