In 2 Timothy  4:7, Paul says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I  have kept the faith.” This well-known and oft-quoted passage is quite  significant in that this epistle was Paul’s last before his martyrdom in A.D.  67. It is a deeply moving affirmation of his unwavering faith and unyielding  love for the gospel of Jesus Christ (Galatians  1:4; Galatians  2:20; Philippians  1:21).

“I have fought the good fight” is also significant for  believers today because it serves as a stark reminder that the Christian life is  a struggle against evil—within ourselves and in the world (John 15:9; Romans 8:7James 4:4). Earlier in this  same epistle, Paul reminded Timothy to “endure hardship as a good soldier of  Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy  2:3).

The Greek word agonizomai, translated “fought,” means  literally “to engage in conflict.” The word was used in the context of competing  in athletic games or engaging in military conflict. Considering that Paul was  chained to a Roman soldier when he wrote this epistle, it would have been easy  for him to make such an analogy. In fact, he had known many Roman soldiers and  during his imprisonment had won a number of them to Christ, some of them members  of the Praetorian Guard (Philippians  1:13).

Our battle is not with flesh and blood “but against  principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,  against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The  Christian life is a fight in that Christians face a never-ending struggle  against evil—not an earthly military campaign, but a spiritual battle against  Satan. This is why we must “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able  to withstand in the evil day” (see Ephesians  6:13-18).

Without question, the apostle Paul was the consummate  warrior, never quitting, never flagging in his zeal for the Lord (Philippians  3:14-15). He knew where lay the source of his strength (Philippians 4:13; 2  Corinthians 12:9). His campaign to spread the gospel of Christ began on the  Damascus Road (Acts 9:3) and  eventually took him across the ancient world on four missionary journeys. He had  witnessed of Christ before Felix and Agrippa, the legates and officials of Rome  (Acts 23:26; Acts 26:1). He contended with false teachers and false  brethren within the church (2  Corinthians 11:13; Galatians  1:7; Galatians  2:4).

Paul’s “good fight” included an astonishing series of dangers  and indignities (2  Corinthians 11:23-33). Even in these he proclaimed his victory in Christ:  “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”  (Romans 8:37).

Paul’s  life and ministry provide for us a powerful example for modeling Christ today.  Not only did he “fight the good fight,” but he also “finished the race” and  “kept the faith” (2 Timothy  4:7). Paul knew that his death was near (verse 6) but had no regrets. After  Jesus took control of his life (Acts  9:15-16), Paul had lived life to the fullest, fulfilling all that Jesus had  charged and empowered him to do (Ephesians  3:6; 2 Timothy  4:17). He had a remarkable sense of fulfillment and contentment with his  life (Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy  6:6-8).

As believers today, we can have no greater sense of  fulfillment than to know, as Paul did, that we have fully accomplished all that  the Lord has called us to do (Matthew  25:21). May we “fight the good fight” and “be watchful in all things, endure  afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [our] ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).