Today I read 2 Timothy 4, Paul's closing to the second epistle to Timothy. Paul talks a little bit about the last days again in this chapter but it is not his main focus. He says that there will come a day when people will not endure sound doctrine but after their own lusts shall they leap to and fro and have itching ears. That definitely sounds like this day and age to me. I mean, how do people react when you try and teach them the gospel, if they'll even listen to you? I sure have.
I have also heard stories of various Christian churches that will "fire" their minister because they don't like what he was preaching and will look to hire a new one. If that is not leaping to and fro after their own hearts I don't know what is. Truth is truth and it doesn't change just because we don't like it. Nephi stated that the wicked take the truth to be hard because it cuts them to the very core of their being. I have found this to be true and not just with the doctrine of Christ. Think about the last time you were given criticism, constructive or otherwise. Was it easy to hear? Probably not. We don't like being told that we are doing things incorrectly, but sometimes that is exactly what we need to hear. But if we are on the other side of things, on the telling part, we are really doing a disservice to the person by keeping it to ourselves and by not telling them what is going on and what they need to change. We are more concerned with our own feelings than with the feelings of the other person.
The last part of this chapter that has always stood out to me is Paul's assertion that he has fought the good fight, has finished his course and has kept the faith. I remember as a missionary that's all I wanted was to be able to say I had fought the good fight and had kept the faith. It makes me wonder, what qualifies as fighting the good fight? Because Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, bitten by snakes, people attempted to murder him and all kinds of other horrible things that I am sure we don't even have a record of. So does fighting the good fight mean we have to suffer like he did? Heaven forbid! Rather it means that we must be faithful like he was.
It is a hard thing to endure to the end. We have to be completely dedicated to the Gospel because quite frankly life is interesting. The world finds all kinds of ways to distract us and make us think that the world is more fun and enjoyable than living the Gospel. For example, the world would have us believe that it is more satisfying and enjoyable to just have a bunch of random sexual partners than it is to be married. Married couples are almost always portrayed on TV as fighting all the time, never having sex and generally being unhappy. And then there are the single people on television which have sex all the time run around getting drunk, another method of the world to have "fun", and being happy. But the truth is, the world has it backwards, wickedness never was happiness. People might think they are happy and enjoying themselves, but really, deep down almost everyone longs for the peace and happiness that the Gospel brings. They want that meaningful relationship with a spouse and they want to be able to have a family. They yearn for it because their Spirit remembers what our life was like before we came here even if our physical memory can't remember.
To fight the good fight is to remain true to your covenants and to do what is right at all times. It is not always easy. It takes work but it is the most worthwhile work you will ever do. I can promise you that. Until tomorrow.