My reading contained a phrase that caught my eye.
1 Timothy 6:12 says (ESV) Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
The phrase is: “take hold of the eternal life”
My experience is that there are phrases like this in the Bible that we have not given practical thought as to how to do what the phrase says to do. That would be like me reading about how to build a house. I have some understanding of the skills, materials, and the tools involved to build a house. But I have no experience in doing it and I have not thought much about how to do it. I'm grateful for those who did learn how to frame, hang sheetrock and run wiring in the house I’m sitting in. I’m grateful that they did not leave such tasks in the hypothetical category but they learned a trade which resulted in a comfortable warm house on a cold morning.
In a similar way, I don't want to leave the phrase “take hold of the eternal life” hypothetical. What does it mean to do that? It can’t mean to strive for it as if it's a goal for which if you work hard you will achieve. That is perhaps the most common view about what following Jesus is about, for those outside of the faith, even if they don't accept that's a real thing we're pursuing. But it's also a misunderstanding of many who are in the faith. I've heard many over the years, in strong Bible believing churches, with clear teaching on this matter, still express that they “hope” they will get into heaven as if they're trying to be good enough for that to be so. That can't be what this means.
Rather, take hold of the eternal life means to grasp onto a reality that is already yours as a person who is in Christ. Recognize that you possess eternal life in the present and take hold of that reality as you continuously struggle to fight the good fight of the faith and as you pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness. (see v. 11) We don't pursue these things for the sake of achieving or earning eternal life. As has been said before, “Faith is not opposed to effort, it's opposed to earning.” We make vigorous effort as a believer. That vigorous effort is not in the service of trying to earn or to obtain something that we don’t have. Rather, it's in the service of being who you already are. Take hold of the eternal life then means to live today with an eternal perspective that you already possess God’s good gift of eternal life. This perspective is the only one that can enable us to consistently face both good days and bad with hope.