In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul gives us three things to help us understand how to finish well. It says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Battles, race, and tests define our course.
Battles: 2 Corinthians 10:4 says that our weapons are mighty in God to pull down strongholds. The battle is for our mind. Verse 5 says, “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
We fight with God’s word through the experiential truth we have gained and walk in. We consistently renew our mind so we can quickly recognize the lies that satan throws at us. When a thought comes that is contrary to who God is, we hack it to pieces by speaking the truth of His word.
Race: We run with endurance. Hebrews 12:1 tells us how. We lay aside every thing that would weight us down, like worry, and anything that binds us to our past. We never justify our sin but quickly confess it. We let go of our past because it is passed. Things like unforgiveness, bitterness, resentments, anger, worry, and fears all entangle us and block us from being conformed to His image.
Tests: Our faith is tested, refined, purified, and strengthened through fiery trials. Faith comes by hearing the word. We embrace our trials because they are His agents to conform us to His image. We grow in our experiential knowledge of Him. He reveals His character to us through our trials. Our intimacy with Him broadens and deepens. He gives us revelational insight that upholds and sustains us.
Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God’s will for our lives will be completed. However, if you are repeating a lesson over and over, it is time to move on. God told the Israelites that they had been at the mountain long enough (Deuteronomy 1:6). They could have made the journey in 11 days, but it took them 40 years because of their rebellion.
Another explanation: the Lord has allowed a thorn in the flesh. It might be a direct attack to keep you from accomplishing what the Lord has called you to do. For Paul, it was to keep him from being arrogant because of the revelations God had given him. However, it was a messenger of satan. My Bible has a note: an intense, wearying difficulty or affliction.
Whatever you are going through, may you persevere and finish your course well! You might like to read my ebook on Amazon ~ He Drew Me Out Of Deep Waters: encouragement for hard trials.