“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:5-8
When children are growing up, we teach them to live with the end in mind. We teach them that at the end of the game, their team’s score needs to be higher than the other team’s to win. We teach in school that the work they do today will determine the grade they get at the end of the year. Children grow up with a general understanding that what you do not only affects you in the moment, but it also leads to the end result.
So, what changes for adults? If we go with the flow of our culture, we can get caught in a ‘live for the moment’ mentality, which often ends in sin and disorder. We over-spend today to get what we want, but in the end, we are left with insurmountable debt. We manipulate our way to the top seat in the office, only to find when we get there that we don’t have the character it takes to lead others. We compromise physically in our dating relationships to feel good now, but are left with heartache, guilt and shame. When we live for today, we live by our feelings, but when we live with the end in mind, we live by our convictions.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy (2 Timothy), he urges Timothy to live with the end in mind. He reminds him to “keep your head in all situations” and “endure hardships”, not follow your feelings and do what feels good in the moment. We are all running the race marked out for us, and sometimes the race can seem more like an obstacle course. But, like Paul, if we live with the end in mind, we too will be able to say at the end of our lives, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
How will today be different if you live with the end result in mind rather than momentary feelings? What decisions will you make today that will result in righteousness and good fruit? Is there a decision you made recently based on feelings, rather than convictions, that you need to confess?
-Katie Chatham @katiechatham