So . . . have been offline for the past week . . . so nice to be back at my desk this morning. Wrapped up 1Timothy this morning. Paul doesn’t waste a word. With intensity to the very end, he exhorts his apprentice to “fight the good fight of faith.” The stakes are high . . . Timothy has been given charge to shepherd the flock at Ephesus. The opposition is real . . . from both the world around them and from the “weeds” sown among them. But while there is much to do to contend for the people of God and seize every day, what grabs me this morning, is that it starts with contending for the presence of God and seizing eternal life.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. 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)
Take hold of eternal life . . . lay hold of it . . . attain to it . . . take possession of it . . . seize it with both hands.
How often do I think of eternal life as only something that has been freely gifted to me . . . and it is . . . but not something to lay hold of? Pretty often.
It’s one of the dynamics of the Christian life . . . taking that which we have been promised and making it that which becomes part of our practice. For example, we have been declared holy in Christ, therefore we are commanded to be holy. Similarly, we have been given eternal life, thus we are to lay hold of it.
Because eternal life is the prize, it becomes the essence of our pursuit. It’s not something that is only inherited when we see Jesus, but something that is laid before us each morning as the prize of victory worthy of our intense desire. And as we keep our eye on the crown . . . as we remind ourselves of the reward that awaits those who have been called of God . . . it refuels the desire to fight that good fight and to pursue the things of the kingdom.
To run swiftly after righteousness . . . godliness . . . faith . . . love . . . steadfastness . . . and gentleness.
And who is up to such things? Who is able to successfully engage in such a race for such a prize? By what power?
Just as it was not by our efforts that we earned this eternal life “to which you were called,” so too, our pursuit of it is not dependent on our own “spiritual fitness or capabilities” . . . but enabled through the grace of God and empowered by the Spirit of God.
Mine is to desire to lay hold of the prize . . . to set my face in the morning toward heaven, and be reminded that this world is not my home . . . to consider again the stewardship God has given me and seek to be faithful . . . and then to prioritize appropriately . . . and pursue passionately . . . by the abundant out-pouring of God’s amazing grace . . . and through the continual filling of God’s Holy Spirit. Only as He enables . . . only as He works the work He has begun in my life . . . am I able to lay hold of such a glorious prize.
Eternal life . . . the prize of His upward calling. Worthy of my meditation this morning . . . worthy of my determination throughout this day.
O’ that I might seize eternal life . . . by His grace . . . for His glory . . .