Last week my team got creamed. My company hosted a picnic for the employees . . . food, fun, relay races, and a tug-of-war competition. What was I thinking? Talk about allowing peer pressure to put you in situations you wouldn’t otherwise sign up for . . . ok, maybe it was more like boss pressure. But, again, what was I thinking? What were the 8 of us thinking? We had formed a team for the relay races in order to be “good sports” and participate . . . but agreeing to compete in the tug-of-war eliminations? Brother! We went out . . . or should I say down . . . in the first round. A number of us lost our footing (we think it’s because they had us lined up where we had just run the Crisco’d watermelon roll relay . . . but that’s another story) . . . others of us just lost our grip. No contest. Better luck next year . . . don’t think so.
Ok . . . so why the flashback? It’s Paul’s closing words in his first letter to Timothy that have me thinking about the importance of making sure I get a firm grip . . .
But as for you, O man of God . . . Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1Timothy 6:11-12 ESV)
I fear that for some, they view their “decision for Christ” as the final step in “their journey.” That they’ve “found it” and now they’re done with searching for it. That the sinner’s prayer has been prayed . . . the ticket punched . . . eternity secured . . . done and won . . . now they can get on with life. That for some, being saved means they’ve reached the finish line . . . that they’ve dealt with the question of eternity and their soul and so it’s all done . . all that’s left is to keep the “saved” button visible so that when Jesus comes He’ll know who said the prayer. But far from that, the moment I believed was just the beginning. Salvation is less about making a decision and more about entering a race . . . and not just a sprint, but a marathon. The faith that was but a mustard seed when I first believed the gospel call, is the faith that I am to attend to and grow in. It’s the faith I am to pursue . . . the faith I am to live out . . . the faith worthy of fighting the good fight for. The eternal life I received when I first believed is the eternal life upon which I am to get a firm grip.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them . . . They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1Timothy 6:17-19 ESV)
Timothy, Paul says, take hold of eternal life . . . seize it . . . and encourage others to do the same.
I am to get a firm grip on the things of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness. To submit to the sanctifying work of the Spirit in me and, by His all sufficient grace, cultivate character which imitates that of the Savior’s. And getting a firm grip on that “which is truly life” will involve where my treasures are as manifest in the way I conduct my life . . . being rich in good works . . . generous and ready to share . . . less concerned about my 401(k), or my RRSP for my Canadian brethren, than I am about storing up treasures as part of “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1Peter 1:4).
Pursue righteousness . . . fight the good fight . . . store up heavenly treasures. That’s the race I’m running . . . those are the “events” I’ve signed up for.
Take hold of eternal life . . . that which is truly life . . . that which Jesus calls abundant life (John 10:10). Get a firm grip . . . By His grace . . . for His glory.