Living in this world as a Christian is a battle; it’s a continuous war. The devil will always bring temptations, and in a world full of injustices and iniquities, it can be difficult to stay focused. However, the Bible leaves us with examples of men and women of God who faced challenges but made it to the end. One such example was Paul; he faced extremely difficult trials and tribulations, but he kept the faith. He didn’t allow obstacles to stand in the way of spreading the gospel.
In stark contrast, there was a man called Demas who started his race with Paul but did not finish. “Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia.” (II Timothy 4:9 – 10). Demas was a man of God but he did not persevere. He walked side by side with Paul, doing the work of God, but unfortunately he began to love the world and admire its shine. He began to say “yes” to what he once said “no” to; put simply, he no longer wanted to sacrifice.
Many are those who started their journey of faith but didn’t make it to the end. They allowed circumstances to deviate their attention and make them lose focus. The Apostle Paul warns us that in the latter times many will depart from the faith and this is exactly what is happening today (see I Timothy 4:1). The truth is, with time, many get discouraged. Some allow negative thoughts to influence them and as a consequence they start comparing themselves with unbelievers. If we don’t watch every day, this can happen to us and that is exactly what the devil wants. What we cannot forget is that the world is full of deceit; it is temporary and very soon everything will fade away.
So how can we maintain our focus? When we understand that there is no joy apart from God and the best way to solve our problems is to receive the Holy Spirit. Those who enjoy the pleasures of this world will ultimately lose their soul; that’s why it is not enough to just start, we must strive to finish our race.
As long as we are with God, we are in the safest and best place that we could ever hope to be. Yes, we will face trials and tribulations, but when we keep our eyes on the goal, we will overcome all obstacles. More importantly, when we die our souls will go to heaven. And just like Paul, we will also be able to say the following:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (II Timothy 4:7).
This is the greatest testimony we can ever achieve!