2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
-The word race is written as merots in Hebrew which means to run, or move progressively on a set course. We have noticed or even participated in races like the just concluded Standard Chartered Nairobi marathon whose goal is to raise funds for tackling inequality and promote economic inclusion for our younger generation. The Mater heart run is also popular, and it’s objective is to raise money for the purpose of funding financially disadvantaged children in desperate need of cardiac surgeries. These are races that we run annually for beautiful courses. The above scripture is most commonly read in funerals, and often times do we don’t miss it either in the sermon, program booklet, obituaries or cemetery crosses. Sometimes we are asked to reflect on the life of the deceased to see whether they ran a noble course. When the funeral rites are over, we forget that matter and life goes on as usual. Before people are asked to reflect on our lives through this scripture, it is vital to reflect upon it ourselves. Apostle Paul never missed this opportunity of self evaluation. He seemed to be seeing the end of his life drawing close, and he assessed it from the perspective of his faithfulness to Jesus, who called him to be saved and to serve him as the last and least of all the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:9). This also doubles up as a final charge to Timothy, his protégé, and Paul is eager to give the last instructions should this prove to be his last correspondence. Also Acts 13:36 tells us that, “when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed”. It is a good endeavor at every stage of your life to look back on the previous stage, and prayerfully ask if one has been fighting the good fight and running a good race. Of the things God has called you to, have you kept faithful? It is proper to seek God and ask for His purpose for your life to be revealed and for strength, and grace to accomplish it for the glory and honor of His name.
We thank You Jehovah Shalom for enabling us to see this day, we know that many did not make it, but it is by Your mercy and grace that we are alive today. It is because of Your faithfulness that we continue serving You in good health, peace and prosperity. May You remember merciful Savior all those who are sick and suffering that You may heal them all and deliver them from their troubles. May You cover them with Your precious blood and heal them because by Your stripes they are healed. May You forgive us all our trespasses and heal our hearts. Lord Your purposes for our lives stands firm to many generations. We thank You for loving us and this far that You have brought us, and for the far that You are taking us. We are Your handiwork Lord, created in You Christ Jesus to do good works, which You prepared in advance for us to do. May You give us strength, grace and favor to do well for the glory and honor of Your name. May You make us succeed in every good work, for all things God works for the good of those who love You Lord, and are called according to Your purpose. Lord the purposes of our hearts are deep waters and the one who has insight draws them out. May You reveal Your purposes for our lives and enable us to execute them excellently. May You enable our president and all our leaders to execute well the mandates for which You have called them. Jesus You have assured us in Your word that You know that we can do all things through You who strengthens us; and none of our purposes will be thwarted. Jesus You did not leave us orphaned but You left us Your Holy Spirit. May Your sufficient grace be upon us Holy Spirit so that we may run our races, fight the good fight, keep the faith and finish our course. We pray all this trusting and believing in Jesus mighty name. Amen
Further reading: Proverbs 20:5, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 NKJV
“I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men are snared in an evil time, When it falls suddenly upon them.”
-God is Sovereign and His deeds are known from the beginning. God reminds us in Isaiah 46:9-11 saying, “rememberthe former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,’ Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.” God makes known His purpose and ofcourse through the scriptures and whatever He speaks He performs for His good pleasures. To the swift and strong, the wise, understanding, and skillful; or to the swift and slow, to the strong and weak, to the wise and unwise; everything befalls them just as it is ordered by God, for there is a certain time fixed by the Lord for every event; and whatever seems casual and contingent to man, and which he is ready to call chance, is noticing but decree with God. God is in control and reminds us not be anxious about anything for by worrying we cannot add even an hour to our lives (Matthew 6:27). This should detail you from pursuing your God given purposes but should act as a catalyst to push you on in your divine destiny as you run your race. Therefore, God calls us to give thanks in everything; for this is His will for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Further that since the purposes of Jesus Christ will stand, and we are called to always be ready for His second coming and not be oblivious of these facts like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who were caught unaware and taken out by the flaming fires. We are called to believe in Jesus Christ, repent our sins and be saved.
Sovereign Lord You have been my hope, my confidence since my youth. At Your name Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Your are Lord to the glory of God the Father. Lord You are the King of kings and Lord of lords and none can compare to You. You are our Lord and Savior, and we have no other. Lord You are faithful, may You strengthen us and protect us from the evil one. May You direct our hearts into Your love and the perseverance in Christ. May You strengthen each one of as we run our races that we may please You through our faith in You. Jesus we believe in You and know that when You come again we shall be caught up in the sky with You and live forever and ever with You. We bless Your name dear Jesus because You love us and have redeemed us with Your precious blood. May You cause many among us to know You and believe in You. We humbly come to throne of grace that we may receive mercy and grace to help us during the time of need. This is our time of need dear Jesus, we call on You for mercy that You may forgive our every trespass and wash us with Your precious blood. We ask for Your grace to help us as we run our races in the journey of our faith. We call on You to help us as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. You are God and none can compare to You. We have confidence in You Lord that You are doing and will continue to do the things You have promised in Your divine word. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us now and forever more. Amen
Further reading: Philippians 1:12, Proverbs 19:21
Isaiah 40:30-31 NKJV
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
-Those who wait upon Yahweh, for help, providence, protection, sustenance, salvation, healing, and strength, put their trust, hope and confidence in Him. In the course of life we encounter numerous wins and set backs, we are reminded to call upon the name of the Lord who renews our strength. Those who rely on their own strength, be it physical, material, fame and power may not succeed without the intervention of the Lord. When we rely upon Jehovah despite our shortcomings, He renews our strength and we are able to soar up high like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.
All power belongs to You Lord God Almighty, who made the heavens and the earth. All strength is in Your abode and You give freely to those You desire. All grace abounds in You and from You, and You favorably grant those who seek Your face. Lord we appreciate You for Your grace which is sufficient for us. We ask You for the grace of leadership and kingship, increase and multiplication, family and marriage, salvation and strength. We thank You for the plans You have for us Lord Jesus, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. We appreciate You Lord for Your provision, protection, guidance, sustenance, salvation, love, and keeping Your promises in our lives. We honor You Lord and bless Your name. May You increase in those who are sick, weak and aged strength merciful Savior. We thank You for the gift of rains that You have given our nation. You have sufficiently watered our land, may You continue to give us rains to the ends of our boarders. May You make our nation productive and bless the work of our hands. Thank You Lord Jesus for Your favor and love. Thank You for Your promises are yes and amen, to the glory of God the Father. We pray all this believing and trusting in Jesus mighty name. Amen .
Further reading: Jeremiah 29:11
Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
-Each one of us has a unique race set out before them. Each one has to win their own race maked out for them. Sometimes there are many distractions on the course and we measure our performance against our peers. The race then stops becoming your own and you begin running other peoples races. When we ask questions like how do I measure up, I’m I good enough, what do people think, we stop looking to Jesus during the race and begin looking at other people. When you begin to absorb what people think and talk about you, you quickly forget what God thinks about you. The best destroyer of destiny is comparison. Comparison so easy extinguishes one’s flame in purpose and may easy cause stress and depression. When comparison begins, contentment ends. Each one of us has their own course and a purpose for which God called us. When we look to Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith, we emerge victorious. We cannot please everyone but we can please God through our faith in Him. When we seek to know God, serve Him, live for Him and glorify Him, we fix our eyes on Jesus. We know that whatever we gaze at, we move towards. Let us always look to Jesus Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith, who has freely given us everlasting life.
How magmatic is Your name Lord in all the earth. The whole earth is filled with awe at Your wonders, where morning dawns, where evening fades, You call forth songs of joy. Lord You are faithful Lord and Holy. You are able and worthy to be worshiped, honored and praised. We thank You for the opportunity to dwell in Your presence. In Your presence Lord there is fullness of joy. You make known to us the path of life; You fill us with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. We look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We look to You Jesus for healing, restoration, strength, hope, blessings, favor, grace, prosperity, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. We look to You for endurance in our journey of faith. We look to You for eternal life for ourselves, our loved ones and the entire world. Lord You are in control of nothing is too hard for You. May You encourage and strengthen us in our journey of faith. May You increase us in faith and empower us with Your gifts. Our Father who art in heaven; hallowed be Your name; Your Kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptations but deliver us from evil; for thine is the Kingdom the power and the glory; forever and ever. Amen
Further reading: Galatians 5:7–9
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
-Apostle Paul probably referred to the Isthmian games which were played in Isthmus where Corinth stood, and was familiar to his audience. Other popular games included the Olympian, Pythian, and Nemean in Greece where the contestants would undergo athletic exercise, which is similar to the currently times. Kenya is commonly known for athletics and participants engage in rigorous training to ensure they win during the marathons. In every race, proper preparations and believing you will make it is key before the actual race begins. God is calling us to believe in Him and walk in the purposes for which He has called us through faith, and we will receive the crown of life.
In every contest there is always a winner and a looser. 1 Corinthians 9:24 tells us that only the winner gets the prize. It comes on to contrast between the winner of a competitive game, and the one who runs the race to eternity. The one who runs to win a game receives a prize but unfortunately it wastes away, but on the other hand, the one who runs to wins the crown of life endures forever. Even though there are many distractions in every race, we are reminded to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith as we run our own races (Hebrews 12:1-2). In every significant contest, there are spectators who cheer the players. In the same way, while we are on the running track, there is a great cloud of witnesses who silently cheer us on and we reminded to lay aside every weight of sin that so easily ensnares us. Since the times are evil, we are called to look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and walk in it. In so doing, God will continue to shower us with His blessings. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill, but time and chance happen to them all. It is vital then to exercise the gift of discernment, for the fish does not know when the cruel net will capture it, nor is the bird aware of the snare ahead, so does man know when these evil times will suddenly befall them (Ecclesiastes9:11-12). In the race, it is vital to submit to Jesus and resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). As we do so we are called to pray that the Lord will give us the wisdom to wait upon Him, so that as we run we will not be weary and as we walk we will not faint (Isaiah 40:30-31): When we rely on God wholeheartedly, then we will confidence declare like Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7). In your own race as a Christian it is vital to remember that we are called differently and we should journey in Christ faithfully as vessels of honor. Also that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus and we have victory in Him if we don’t loose focus on the cross and thus loose our faith.
Dear Heavenly Father we come before Your presence today with humble adoration. We exalt You and praise You for the mighty works You have done, and for Your faithfulness and love. Oh Lord we pray that You shall forgive our sins and cleanse us with Your precious blood. Father we hereby ask for Your grace to run this race as You have destined us. May You strengthen us in the journey of faith and in the race through the valleys, over the hills and in all situations. We trust in You and know that You will never leave us nor forsake us. May You take away all our burdens and stumbling blocks in our race of eternity. May You cover us with Your precious blood and surround us with Your hedge of fire. We call upon for Your help and our grace in times of need. You are our Provider and Sustainer, and our eyes are on You. May You bless us Lord and keep us. May You make Your face to shine upon us and be gracious to us. May You lift up Your countenance upon us and give us peace. Amen
Further reading: Romans 12:9, Luke 18:8