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Wrestler, runner, soldier all

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When Paul the apostle reflected on his life, he did so using three metaphors. “I have fought the good fight”, he said.¬†“I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. (II Timothy 4:7). Wrestler, runner, soldier – so helpful to us as we seek to live well.

We all wrestle with something. Perhaps it’s because some flaw, fault or weakness runs through our person. Or perhaps because a bit of shrapnel from an earlier skirmish remains lodged within, and has the propensity to fester again and again. Whatever the case, we all experience the enemy’s intrusion into our internal world, probing for purchase, at least to distract, and at best to destroy. His agenda is never benign, and establishing ourselves in the victories of Christ in the private enclaves of heart and mind is at least as essential as triumphing in other arenas. Paul mentions the private and personal first, and tells us that there he fought a good fight. Let’s be clear that a good fight is a fight won! A word to the wise – although these battles are by definition in the all-alone, a close confidant who is kept aware can be helpful is establishing oneself in consistent victory.

We also all have a race to run. This is of gifts and callings, of meaning and purpose; of destiny. It refers to endeavors unique to us; the good works prepared in advance for us to do. Our race is God-appointed and each of us is perfectly equipped to run it, for the grace of God is upon us to do so, no matter what twists, turns or obstacles we may encounter along the way. It’s our race, and no one else can run it for us, but this metaphor reveals the intriguing way in which Christianity is both an individual and corporate pursuit all at once.Those around us can watch our progress and urge us on, as can we them, and together we can draw strength from the great cloud of witnesses who preceded us all, ran well, and now cheer us on in the spirit-realm. Like Paul, let’s be single minded and run to win, doing all to encourage others, all the while drawing encouragement from them as we stride towards the line.

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Then there’s the soldiering. None of us have much to offer in this department when we stand alone, but together with all brothers and sisters down through the ages, we take our place in the great army of God. Together we steward the glorious truths of the Gospel as entrusted by the Lord to His church for the redemption of His world. Together we occupy, and little by little Heaven colonises earth, glory to glory, until all of His enemies have been manifestly subdued beneath Christ’s feet.


Wrestler, runner, soldier all –
Triumphing in victories
Christ-won at the cross.
Wrestler, runner, soldier all –
Living well, living full,
For the grave is empty

Our champion lives!
Wrestler, runner, soldier all –
For the sake of the Gospel,

And the glory of our Lord.


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