Our Daily Bread Devotional For December 31, 2022 : Topic – Finishing Strong
Read previous Our Daily Bread Devotionals here
Bible in a Year:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Today’s Scripture : 2 Timothy 4:1–8
Paul’s second letter to Timothy was written from a Roman prison. Many scholars believe he was incarcerated in the Mamertine prison, known in ancient times as the Tullianum prison. According to one source, the Mamertine prison was a place for political prisoners who were “doomed for execution.” A door in the lower chamber gave access to Rome’s sewer system, which was often used to carry away the bodies of executed prisoners. While there’s no historical evidence that Paul (or Peter) was imprisoned in the Mamertine prison, tradition has long held that to be the case. As a result of that longstanding connection to the church’s great apostles, the prison has been used as a place of worship since around the seventh century. Whether this was the actual location of Paul’s imprisonment or not, his letter makes it clear that he was anticipating his upcoming execution and was ready to see his Savior (2 Timothy 4:6–8).
By: Bill Crowder
Message : At the age of 103, a woman named Man Kaur competed as India’s oldest female athlete during the 2019 World Masters Athletic Championship in Poland. Remarkably, Kaur won gold in four events (javelin throw, shot put, 60-meter dash, and 200-meter run). But most astounding was that she ran faster than she ran in the 2017 championship. A great-grandmother running into her second century, Kaur showed how to finish strong.
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, a younger disciple, of how he’d entered his concluding years. “The time for my departure is near,” Paul wrote (2 Timothy 4:6). Reflecting on his life, he confidently believed he was finishing strong. “I have fought the good fight,” Paul said. “I have finished the race” (v. 7). He wasn’t confident because he’d calculated his impressive accomplishments or surveyed his vast impact (though they were immense). Rather, he knew he’d “kept the faith” (v. 7). The apostle had remained loyal to Jesus. Through sorrows and joys, he’d followed the One who’d rescued him from ruin. And he knew that Jesus stood ready with a “crown of righteousness,” the joyful finale to his faithful life (v. 8).
Paul insists that this crown isn’t for an elite few but for “all who have longed for [Christ’s] appearing” (v. 8). As we head into a new year, let’s remember that Jesus stands eager to crown all who’ve loved Him, and may we live to finish strong.
Reflect & Pray
What would it look like for you to finish strong? Who has been an example of finishing well?
God, I want to finish well. Help me to love You more than anything or anyone else.
For further study, read Finishing Well: Gracefully Living with Life’s Changes.