Day 88 - Issue 42

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1 Timothy 6:12

'Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.'

As Paul draws towards the end of his letter to Timothy, he gives his young friend a huge amount of encouragement. He describes him as a man of God and urges him to be the best that he could possibly be. Paul, of all people, knew his frailties, but urged Timothy to nonetheless run as fast as could from anything that might hold him back. Encouragement is so important, isn’t it? We all need it in whatever we do, especially when we are facing major challenges. Paul has no doubt that Timothy is going to face enormous difficulties and intense persecution, so is at pains to encourage him.

Many people see the expression “fight the good fight” as a reference to the Olympic Games, although Paul may well have been using military language. Either way, the challenge is clear: the journey ahead was going to be tough and Timothy needed to be totally dedicated to his faith. The Christian life cannot be seen as a hobby that we pick up from time to time if the mood takes us. Living for Christ will demand the best of us, because it is the best possible life to live. No other life could possibly be more full of love, joy and peace or offer us the blessing of eternal life.

As I look back through my Christian life, I am acutely conscious that anything I have ever achieved for God has been closely related to the encouragement I have received from others. I’m simply not that strong by myself. I have needed the love, care, prayerfulness and belief of others who have given me courage at just the right time. I suspect the people around you also need encouragement, and you may well be ideally placed to provide them with the courage they lack.

Question: Who might you encourage over the next few days, and how?

Prayer: Lord God, I thank you for those who have faithfully encouraged me over the years. Help me to become more effective in encouraging others. Amen

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