I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.
If Jesus would have quit, and not have stuck it out Grace would not exist; there would be no salvation, and His spirit would not abide in us. It is that simple; He endured, He finished the course, He went the distance. It is very clear from the scriptures that Jesus was very, very afraid of the cross. Even though He knew the plan of salvation could only be written in His blood, He was afraid of what He had to face. We read of the mortal fear as He faced death as a man.
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
As Jesus cried out to His Father from the depths of his sorrow, he fell with his face on the ground and cried out that if it was possible let all this pass. Jesus was in anguish, he was in pain from the depths of His heart as he faced the cross. What Jesus was praying here was that if it is possible – if humanity can be redeemed, if mankind can be saved without me having to face this extreme sorrow, let it be done. Had it have been possible, it would have been done. He was in great distress, and horror. Why was He so afraid, you might ask? Many men have faced death and bravely without fear. I believe that there was some fear as he knew of the sufferings and death which were at hand. But I think it was the knowledge that in His death He would be bearing the sins of the whole world, both then and for every person that would ever be born, coupled with Him enduring the curse of the law laid upon Him that made Him cry out in anguish.
Jesus would have to face the full wrath of God, and it is easy to understand His reluctance which is human nature. There have been many martyrs who faced death without fear. The difference in the death of Christ is unlike martyrs who have the presence of God with them as they die, and the love of the Father to abide with them in their death, Christ had to die alone. Jesus would be forsaken by God as the sins of the world were laid upon Him. The wrath of God was to be poured out upon Him; and the condition of His death was unique, and one that no other person has been in or ever will be in again. Knowing the cost and the stakes to accomplish our salvation, Jesus voluntarily paid it; He was committed, He stayed the course, He accomplished the will of God as He spoke His last words “It is finished”.
1 Corinthians 9:26
I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air:
The Greek word for uncertainly here occurs nowhere else in the Bible. What Paul is saying here it that like Christ we should be focused and stay the course. Using the phrase as not uncertainly, Paul is saying I do not run haphazardly; I do not waste my efforts; I take careful aim, and I keep my eye fixed on the prize; I have the goal in mind and I fight without any doubt of the outcome; I will say the course. The path that we lead in life is often times wrought with pain, sorrow and discomfort. And it is a fight many times just to stay the course. Many people quit. Quitting is an insult to the grace poured out by the blood of Jesus Christ. When we quit we say His grace is not sufficient. When we quit we are saying the cross is not enough.
I am here to tell you that His grace is always sufficient; the cross will always be enough. His blood is always enough in every circumstance, and in every situation. If we as believers could live our lives with the same conviction that Paul is trying to convey to us, how much doubt, sorrow, and fear it would remove from our minds.
Paul writes here that he does not fight as someone beating the air. What he is saying is to finish the race and to stay the course, we cannot do things haphazardly. We cannot exert ourselves, our strength and energies on useless endeavors that will accomplish nothing. Outside God’s purpose and plan we waste our energies on that which will produce no positive end result.
Many an effort of believers is merely beating the air. Their energy is expended for nothing. There is a lack of Godly wisdom; there is a failure of obeying God’s will. As a result many times their efforts are wasted, scattered, insufficient; so that, at the close of life, many will have spent their lives entirely, “beating the air.” That is quitting, and contrary to the examples given by our Savior and Paul.
Christian tradition suggests that Paul was martyred in Rome, and died a violent martyr’s death. But like Christ he stayed the course, and went the distance. So when you have thoughts of quitting, DON’T. Quitting is not scriptural, but to the contrary. Jesus showed us the ultimate example of not quitting, and it is in the strength of His death and in the power of His resurrection that we have the ability to endure all things. It is in abiding in His grace we have the strength and courage to finish.
So never quit, stay the course, and go the distance. Follow God’s will for your life in obedience to Him so you will not spend your life “beating the air”. So fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith no matter the situation, and never, ever quit….Jesus didn’t.