I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
Randy Smith leaned back in his chair at put his feet on his desk not sure if he should take a quick nap or continue working on his message for the evening youth group meeting. Seeing how it was a full month into the new year, he thought he would revisit the idea of keeping ones new years resolutions. He knew that many members in the youth group had made them and wanted to encourage them in their efforts.
As He was about to drift off, Randy heard a loud crash coming from the fellowship hall. Quickly, he jumped to his feet and ran to see what crashed and if anybody was hurt. What he found was a Barney Lee laying under a ladder and what appeared to be decorations scattered all over the floor. “Are you okay?” Randy asked as he stood the ladder back on it feet.
“I'm fine.” Barney assured him, “I wasn't on the ladder when it tipped over.” “What are you doing any ways?” Randy asked seeing Barney wasn't hurt. “I was working on decorating for the youth group meeting tonight.” Barney told him, “I thought I would put up some of these New Years decorations since you said you would be talking about new years resolutions.”
“Well,” Randy said, “I'm still planing on doing it. And I'm thinking of using Harold as my example. What do you think?” “No good.” came Barney's short reply. “He quit.” “I thought he was doing a great job of keeping his promise to keep his room squeaky clean.” Randy commented, “Did something go wrong?
“Plenty” Barney scoffed, “Under neath that squeaky clean image, Harold was still Harold. His being good and looking clean was just like the Pharisees in the New testament.” “Are you referring to the ones Jesus called white washed sepulchers?” Randy asked a little curious, “Are you saying Harold was only trying to look good on the outside?”
“Well, sort of.” Barney answered, “I think he really was trying to change and be good.” What happened?” Randy wanted to know. “He was trying to change from the outside in.” Barney answered, “But that doesn't work. When I went over to help him clean up the mess that Stella had made he said he didn’t want to clean it up, He said he missed the mess, and could never find anything.”
“I thought he couldn't find anything before?” Randy thought out loud. “That's true.” Barney agreed, “I once spent three hours in his room looking for something which I never did find but hat's not the real reason he didn't want to clean up his room.” So what was the real reason?” Randy asked, wondering if he would find a way to salvage his message he had based on Harold's hard work.
“Laziness.” Barney answered, “He said it was just too hard to keep being the good Harold. However he did think it was fun seeing Stella suffer.” “Sounds like you are right.” Randy said as he shook his head, “Harold never changed on the inside.” “He needed to change from the inside out.” Barney added, “We need God's help if we're really serious about change.” “Well,” Randy sighed, “I'm going to need God's help to fix my message now.
Have you ever given up on something because it was too hard? Sometimes, when we make a New Years resolution, we start out with great intentions but when things become a little difficult, we're done. Sometimes being lazy is the easy way out. The change we set out to accomplish – if your resolution involved change – is set aside and forgotten.
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart." Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, "Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"
Nehemiah 2:1-3 (ESV)
Nehemiah was saddened because of the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem. The king notices and gives Nehemiah permission to rebuild. Building a wall with God and the king on your side should be easy but it wasn't. The story of the rebuilding of the wall can be found in Nehemiah 4:1-23 if you would like to read through the entire story.
As the story progresses we find that trouble comes in the form of jeering, taunting, mocking but instead of giving in we find that Nehemiah prayed, turning the problem over to the Lord so he could continue building the wall.
The problems didn't go away and soon the enemies decided to go a step further. Instead of jeering and taunting and mocking, they decided to fight and cause confusion. Once again, Nehemiah prayed, set a guard as protection, and kept building.
When the enemy threatened to kill them since nothing else was working, Nehemiah changed tactics. He still kept working on the wall but now he had half of the people armed and watching while the other half did the work.
The wall was built.
As we live the Christian life we can be assured that difficult times will come - 2 Timothy 3:1 says But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. (ESV) In Ephesians 6:12 we are reminded that we struggle against spiritual forces For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (ESV) Since we will have difficulties and struggles, we need to Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV) If we do that we may be able to stand with Paul and say, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
Here's Something To Ponder
- Are you a quitter or do you push on and complete tasks at hand despite difficulties.
- Do you ever become the source of struggles for others keeping them from completing their tasks.