12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
I never read this whole passage before. I usually have stopped or only quoted the very first sentence; fight the good fight of faith. In the Greek language, this phrasing is representative of striving towards a goal in the Olympic Games. Paul is referring to being a top athlete in faith and being completely sold out to it. It is the wholehearted sprint towards the finish line, which is consummated when we are reunited with our Lord Jesus.
Paul references Timothy’s public profession of faith through baptism and encourages him to continue in that path. Paul continues on and “charges” Timothy to keep the commandment. My first question was, “which commandment?” The unfortunate part about that for me was that it isn’t an easy question to answer. Even my annotated bible offered no reference to this commandment. At first, we can think of the story of Jesus talking to the Jews when they ask Him which commandment is greatest (and He ironically offers two). However as we reread this passage, there is one commandment that we tend to miss. We usually look to the Ten Commandments to discover what this is. We then pare it down to the statement Jesus made. However there is one commandment that he first offered His original 12 disciples and now offers to us, “Follow Me.”
This makes a bit more sense in regards to the beginning of this passage and the ultimate message of Paul’s letter, doesn’t it? We tend to focus so much on “the law” that we get caught up in a list of dos and don’ts that we miss the point altogether. In following Christ I picture walking beside or just behind Him as He leads The Way. He tells us that He is The Way and if we follow The Way, then that means we are following Him, doesn’t it? I imagine walking with Jesus and the whole time He isn’t necessarily pointing out what to do or what not to do, but more like, “hey, check this out!” and all along He is revealing amazing things and teaching me at the same time. I always have the option, however, to go a different direction. Sometimes it makes me feel like a little kid going to my grandparents’ house and my Pop saying, “come with me, I have something special to show you,” and I follow him with excitement and wonder into his shop to see his latest project or masterpiece. Jesus calls us the same way to follow Him.
The good fight of faith is chasing after Jesus in this manner. As we follow Him to see what He has in store for us, many other things are begging for our attention and even trying to dissuade, distract, or even pull us from The Way He is leading us. Sometimes we get off track and jump right back on the trail. Other times we get so distracted that it takes us days to realize how far we have gotten off the trail. He patiently waits for us to return and continue on the journey.
Where are you on the path? Have you fallen off the path? Have you rejected His call altogether? He is always waiting for you to begin the journey with Him, as He has wonderful things He wants to share with you.