Not As Uncertainly
Have you ever wondered whether all of your faithfulness is really worth it? Have the seeds of doubt entered into your mind? More than likely you are not alone in your thoughts. At some time or other, the Christian is going to notice that he is abstaining from sinful things while non-Christians revel in worldly pleasures (1 Thess. 5:22). We might start wondering if we are sacrificing a life that could be lived for nothing?
Let me try to encourage you that your choice to live as a child of God is not in vain. Long ago, the apostle Paul used his own life to indicate that faithfulness is worth it. He wrote, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:24-27). Please notice that Paul was confident that his “race” was not a fruitless endeavor. In fact, as he put it, he “ran” “not as uncertainly”. He knew that his efforts to be faithful were indeed worth it! Likewise, Paul explained that he “fought” “not as one that beateth the air”. Have you ever thought about what that means? He knew that he was accomplishing something great instead of wasting his time.
Near the end of his life, Paul echoed those sentiments again. He wrote to Timothy and indicated, “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: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8). Paul knew that his “crown” was waiting for him. In other words, all of the sacrifice and work was worth it! Did you notice that Paul also indicated that a “crown” is waiting for “them also that love his appearing”? That should serve as a reminder that we fight “not as uncertainly” too. We can be sure that we have made the right decision to serve God.
On another occasion, Paul commanded the Christians in Colosse, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24). This was another time that Paul made it clear that faithfulness to God will lead to a positive result. However, Paul also warned that if we do not continue to walk with the Lord that punishment awaits. “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Col. 3:25). Likewise, Paul wrote to the Galatians and stated, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).
These are only some of the assurances that should be encouragement to the child of God. We must stay focused! We must not let ourselves be distracted by “the pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25). All that we have entrusted to God will be worth it! If we are living faithfully, then we should be just as confident as Paul. “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12).
~ Corey Barnette