Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is 2nd Timothy 4:7, where St. Paul declares,      

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.



I think it is safe to say that we live in an aspirational world. People are increasingly taught to dream that life is all about YOU getting whatever YOU want whenever YOU want it. People are bombarded with messages which assert, “If you can do it, just do it,” whatever “it” is. But we are increasingly losing the ability to think about things we should NOT do, things that dehumanize us and actually rob us of what is truly valuable and lasting in life. We’ve also then lost the ability to see what is truly valuable, what is worth living for, and what is even worth dying for. St. Paul is hinting at what that is when he says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Yes, he’s talking about faith in Jesus Christ, his Savior. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus boldly assert that there are some things so vital that they are worth living for and worth dying for, no matter the cost.

So, let me ask you this question: Do you think that there are things in life worth living for and even worth dying for? I honestly believe that when we get that answer straight in our hearts and minds, it is often the beginning of starting to really live. When we truly see the extent of Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross, when trusting in Him becomes the one thing in life that really matters, a whole new way of life opens up for us, one that’s worth the fight, worth the race, and worthy of our faith.

Let me illustrate. I’ve told a story of two soldiers in World War I who illustrated the principle of “knowing what is worth dying for.” Each promised the other his allegiance and support no matter the evils of war. Theirs was a “sacrificial” friendship. They were always together. They had enlisted together, trained together, and were shipped overseas together. And, yes, they fought side-by-side in the trenches. During an especially brutal attack, one of the men was critically wounded in the field. Tired, bleeding, and dying, he didn’t have the strength to crawl back over a field full of barbed wire to the safety of the trench. The entire area was under withering enemy crossfire, and it was suicidal to try to reach him. It was hard to watch. Just then, his good friend decided to try and go get him. But, as he was leaving the safety of the trench, the sergeant yanked him back and ordered him not to go. He said, “It’s too late. You can’t do him any good and you’ll only get yourself killed.”

But there are some things worth fighting for, even worth dying for, right? And, yes, a few minutes later, when the sergeant’s attention was elsewhere, the man jumped out of the trench and went out after his friend. Minutes later he staggered back to the trench mortally wounded, but with his lifeless, good friend in his arms. The sergeant was angry, but deeply moved. He blurted out, “What a waste. He’s dead and you’re dying. It just wasn’t worth it!”

With almost his last breath, the dying soldier replied, “Oh, yes, it was, Sarge. When I got to him, the only thing he said was, ‘I knew you’d come, Jim! I knew you’d come.’”

The unique message of the Bible gives us the saving picture of the God who loves you, the God who comes for you. He comes not just to comfort you when you are dying, but to give you life and salvation now and forever in HIM. The Bible is a book about God in action for you! It’s main message is about a God who comes looking for you when you are lost, a God who sacrifices Himself for sinners like you and me so that we might live forever IN HIM. As the Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

At the end of his life, Paul sees things clearly. Faith in Jesus Christ is the key to life, both now and forever. And living for others in Christ is a life worth fighting for, worth exerting oneself for, and worth sacrificing for. The world might not always value the faith that you have in God or the love—received first from Him—that you have for others. That’s not our concern. Our concern is for those whom Christ sends into our life so that we can share His love with them with the hope that they too might know how precious they are in His sight. Jim’s friend died, but he didn’t die alone. He died in the arms of his buddy who loved him. God’s promise to you in Jesus is that by faith in Him, you do not live alone and you will not die alone (Romans 14:7-8). You will always be in the loving arms of a Savior who demonstrated that you were worth dying for in order to make eternal life possible for you!

Be confident then that striving to live that life of faith is the “good fight.” Others are depending on you to run that race, the one that Christ has already run and won for you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, don’t let me ever be so consumed with the trivial matters of life that I forget that life is precious. Remind me that you give us things worth living for, and even worth dying for. Help me to remember what’s most important in my life, faith in You and fervent love for others in Your name. Amen!

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