Study Material: II Timothy 4:7-8
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Swaziland is a very beautiful country in southern Africa. It is one of the very few remaining kingdoms. Every year, the young virgins of Swaziland are paraded in a very large festival in which they march topless but with traditional garlands that help to cover them. They are beautifully arrayed in bright colors and their participation in the parade symbolizes their commitment to chastity. I was privileged to witness the Reed Dance in 2003 from the view of the Royal Grounds where the King and Queen Mother also viewed the ceremony. Two things struck me that day: 1) The King’s daughters were front and center leading the parade, and 2) the guide who escorted us forced his daughter to participate; and she was literally kicking and screaming against it. She ended up doing it, but she cried throughout.
Paul was writing to Timothy in today’s study material that he had remained committed to the cause of Jesus Christ (v7). He had now qualified to receive his crown from Jesus Christ knowing that his commitment to Him was not in vain (v8). Commitment to Christ is no Reed Dance. One cannot come out and parade one’s salvation in a colorful display of commitment. It is a race that is hard and pushes one to sometimes want to give up. The Christian race is not one that parents can force you to run. It is one that requires a free and willing person to freely choose Christ and freely commit to serving Him. Jesus does not carry us kicking and screaming as some parents did their daughters for the Reed Dance. The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely (Rev 22:17). Paul said that he had kept his faith and fought a good fight (v7). There is no way that any of us can complete our race if we are not committed.
If you freely commit your life to God in 2014, this year shall be a year of overflow for you. Your cup will run over in Jesus’ name. Commit to the God of overflow in this New Year and see what He will do for you. You might have been serving Him before, but now is the time to commit to more. Not just more, but better. More service is needed, but quality service is desired. Your parents cannot do it for you, and neither can your spouse. No matter how hard you worked for God in 2013, there is always room for improvement.
Take Home Lesson: Commitment to Christ does not require that you be part of a ceremonial parade or outward show. It requires hard work and a tough fight; something that you must freely decide to do.
Homework: Say ‘Father, give me the strength that I need to commit to this race. I need an inner strength that only comes from you. Father, increase my faith’.