Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Periodic Elements of Life



When Milton Bradley invented the game of LIFE in 1860-he almost had it right. Life has a definite start (at conception), and, unless you're like Enoch or Elijah, it also has a certain end. There are other trite similarities between the game of and LIFE itself - like the fact that the cars we drive and even some people we know, are plastic (you can't always blame elective surgery for that!).
I said Milton Bradley 'almost' had it right, because while his boardgame mimicks LIFE, life itself is not a game-it is a serious journey.

The Apostle Paul practically penned his own epitaph in his second epistle (letter) to his son in the Gospel. After describing the condition of LIFE, issuing words of encouragement, challenging and instructing, Paul concluded with this:

'For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:' (2 Tim. 4:6-7).

Paul summarized the journey of his LIFE in sixteen words-'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.'

In the journey of LIFE, there will be ups and downs, hills and valleys, tragedies and surprises-there will be bouts, courses and season. At some point in life, every man will step into the ring, onto the track or into the course with only a God-given measure of faith. At the end of life, we end up at one of two inevitable, inescapable destinations. One would think that the knowledge of hell would be a deterrent enough, or that the hope of Heaven would serve as sufficient motivation, it is the sum total of the daily journey of LIFE that ultimately determines our destiny.

Obtaining the desired outcome is predicated by how we deal with the periodic elements of LIFE; the fight, the course, the faith.

Faith without action is paralyzed (James 2:26), so we 'contend for the faith' (Jude 1:3).

Paul didn't say he 'won' every fight, he just said he 'fought'- and put up a 'good fight' at that. He gave it his best. He stayed in the ring and went toe-to-toe on the canvas until the final round. Determining to fight is a prerequisitive to triumph, and fighting for all you've got is imperative, because if you're fight isn't sustained and you fail to 'finish', then you're effort was for not.

Paul said he 'finished' the course. He didn't quit half-way, throw in the towel or tap out. He ran the race with patience. He learned to forget about his past, to bury it in the blood of the cross and continually press towards the mark Christ had set for him!

Life is but a vapor and at some point this journey will end; it may end prematurely or in the glory of old age. When we stand at attention before the great white throne on the other side of a trumpet sound, will we be able to say we have 'finished' the course? To fight is to be true, and to finish is essential-but what are we contending for? If we fight every round and cross the finish line-but fail to keep the faith, than we have fought for a lost cause!

Most importantly, Paul said 'I have kept the faith.'

In the journey of LIFE there will be a fight, there will be a course- and you will have faith in Someone, someone or something. The challenge today, or tomorrow, or whenever you meet your adversary, confront temptation, or experience a trial- is to 'fight' (a good fight), 'finish' (your course), and 'keep' (the Faith).

Remember these equations: LIFE= Fight, Course + Faith. However: Fight, Course, the Faith+ Fight, Finish, Keep= LIFE (eternal)

So fight on, run on, endure hardness as a good soldier-and most importantly, keep the faith, that is, in Christ Jesus!

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