“I Have Fought a Good Fight, I Have Finished My Course, I Have Kept the Faith”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 97–98


Theme

By following the pattern established by Christ, strength can be developed to overcome all obstacles to spiritual sensitivity and growth.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    There are obstacles to spiritual sensitivity and growth, of which Paul noted the following:

    1. 1.

      Wordly entanglements and dishonesty

    2. 2.

      Foolish and unlearned questions that engender strife

    3. 3.

      Contentions among the saints or with confirmed heretics

  • B.

    Instructions given by Paul to Timothy and Titus can assist one to live in such a way that the Spirit is manifest in his life. These include the following:

    1. 1.

      Not being fearful, but, rather, exercising moral courage when testifying of the Lord and his church.

    2. 2.

      Living in such a way that one teaches with love, faith, gentleness, meekness, diligence, and patience.

    3. 3.

      Studying, holding fast to the scriptures, and enduring sound doctrine.

  • C.

    As one strives to follow Christ’s example, the power of the Holy Ghost enters his life.

  • D.

    When one receives the Holy Spirit, he can overcome the world and endure to the end.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

Titus, 2 Timothy

Course Manual

Chapter 45, “I Have Fought a Good Fight, I Have Finished My Course, I Have Kept the Faith”

Standard Works

John 15:5. How dependent should we be on the Savior?

1 John 5:12. When we follow the Savior, what do we receive?

John 15:18, 19; 17:14. How does the world feel toward those who follow Christ?

1 John 5:4. How does one overcome the world?

John 8:12, 1:4. What is the light of life the Savior gives?

Alma 17:3. What made the sons of Mosiah spiritual giants?

D&C 88:66-68; 5:16; 97:1, 2. As one determines to follow Christ, what is the result?

D&C 42:12-14. Where can the fulness of the gospel be found?

3 Nephi 17:3. Why does the Savior say one must ponder the scriptures?

D&C 33:6. Why can’t the scriptures be understood without the Holy Ghost?

3 Nephi 26:1-12. On what condition may the Saints receive additional scripture?

Basic Library

M of F, p. 354. What blessings await those who overcome the world?

Discourses, pp. 448-53. What joys are found in the gospel?

Gos. Doc, pp. 58-59. What is necessary for one to be guided by the Holy Spirit in all circumstances?

Gos. Doc, pp. 155-56. Why must the Saints be courageous?

DS, 3:203-4. What blessings come from good home libraries?

DS, 1:301-5. For what purpose should we study the scriptures?

Teachings, pp. 64-66. How does following Christ’s pattern give men strength to overcome the world?

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Wordly Entanglements Hinder Spiritual Growth

One of the major things against which Paul had to fight was wordly influences. He understood that even when one is not deliberately wicked, he does not put forth the effort to gain and keep the Holy Spirit when he cares deeply for the things of the world. It is important, therefore, that the Saints be free from worldly entanglements so they can devote time to do those things which build spirituality.

The instructor could introduce the concept of avoiding worldly entanglements by pointing out that all the trades and both skilled and unskilled services are honorable, necessary, and highly compatible with heavy Church reponsibility and involvement. This is also true for the professions. Indeed, with the right attitude and some success, professional men can be very useful to the Church. Successful businessmen who truly love the Lord have probably contributed more top leadership than any other profession. This is because they have the time, the means, the proven executive ability, and the kind of experience the Church needs in many of its affairs.

The following sentence could be written on the chalkboard: It is easier to care for the affairs of the Church if one is free from the cares of the world.

Note Matthew 13:22 and 2 Nephi 3:8 and ask, Why was Joseph Smith always told not to worry about his living? Consider the following questions:

  1. 1.

    Why are the General Authorities called to serve in a full-time capacity?

  2. 2.

    Can we all be free from the cares of the world?

  3. 3.

    What can one do now to avoid being entangled in the world?

In the World but Not of the World

In his great high priestly prayer (John 17), the Savior noted that though his disciples were “in the world,” they were, in reality, “out of the world.” What does world mean? (See Joseph Smith 1:4.) People have differing opinions as to what it means to be in but not of the world. The following diagram illustrates this:

in the world but not of the world

Which of these diagrams illustrates the ideal situation? What counsel did Paul give Titus and Timothy on how they could be in but not of the world? Do the world’s standards influence the Saints today? What is the warning of the Lord to the Saints in D&C 10:33; 76:28-30?

People Today Face Many of the Problems About Which Paul Warned Titus and Timothy

The instructor may wish to show some of the similarities between Paul’s day and our own. This could be done by listing on the chalkboard the things of which Paul warned in 2 Timothy 3:1-7. With a brief definition of the meaning of each point, the instructor could develop a discussion of parallels against which the modern disciple must also fight.

  1. 1.

    “Men shall be lovers of their ownselves.” (Selfishness)

  2. 2.

    “Covetous” (Materialism)

  3. 3.

    “Boasters” (Vanity)

  4. 4.

    Others

Also, the instructor may wish to point out some of the differences. For instance, in reviewing the passages from the standard works suggested in this lesson, the teacher may have learned that there is encouragement for this dispensation that the last one did not have. The last dispensation ended in the great apostasy. What will this one lead to?

Scripture Study Is Essential to Gain the Spirit of God

The instructor may wish to develop this concept through scriptural analysis, having various students look up separate scriptures and then report on their implications. The following scriptures could prove helpful: 1 Nephi 8:24; 2 Nephi 3:12; Alma 17:1-3; 3 Nephi 23; 3 Nephi 26:1-12; D&C 88:77-80; 88:118; Deuteronomy 31:9-13. The teacher may wish to add others of his own.