I am generally one of those people who likes to keep my lawn looking good. I will admit that when it is 90 degrees in the sun, when sweat is pouring down my face, there is a severe temptation to skip pulling out the trimmer to get all those tufts of grass around the trees and along the rock wall. The heat and my fatigue come together to say, “It’s good enough for today.” The next day as I look out over the lawn, what do I see? Those unfinished details, those ‘little’ things that are undone.
It’s one thing when the trimming is left undone in the lawn, but what about the unfinished business in other parts of our lives? There are choices to be made about life that are much more serious, aren’t there? Do you ever run out of motivation, losing your enthusiasm along the way?
Did you set out to serve Christ in some ministry but found it so much more difficult than you had thought and stalled?
Are you ready to give up on dealing with that habit which you know is sin and therefore keeps you from feeling the joy of the Lord?
Do doubts about your home in Heaven hang on, your faith undeveloped and immature?
Paul writes to us by the inspiration of the Spirit to encourage us to finish. “I thank my God every time I remember you. … being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3,6 NIV) Do you notice where Paul focuses his confidence? Go back, read it again. Yes, he is confident in God’s ability, not his, not ours. Are you?
I regret to say that in my lifetime I have ‘given up’ on some people. Frustrated by their laziness or their refusal to step up to try hard, I stepped around them and moved on. God is not like this. He invests Himself in us, desires our success, and works in us to ‘carry it on to completion.’ Another familiar passage urges the right focus. “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” (Hebrews 12:2-4, NLT)
God’s promise does not excuse our laziness. In the Word we learn of the importance of endurance and perseverance in a hundred lessons! Faithfulness is something prized by the Lord in us. But, paradoxically, we are most likely to remain faithful when we are leaning hard on Jesus, taking the Spirit’s counsel, and trusting in God with unwavering faith in HIS ability to save.
This morning, are you too tired, discouraged, unmotivated – perhaps even to pray, to deal with whatever is in front of you? Tell Him that, honestly. Tell Him if you are tired, fearful, or just want to go find a sunny beach far from it all. He will meet you where you are, but He won’t leave you there alone. Sit with Him for a few moments and let your heart be open, real, about the truth. As you look up, you will stop comparing yourself to others. That never works anyway. You can always find someone that you feel is doing worse than you are and comfort yourself in apathy. Of course, you can always find many who appear to be doing so much better that you are convinced of your own worthlessness!
God sees us as we are – our true potential – and asks for our best, as He equips us through the work of His Spirit, to make the ‘most of every opportunity.’ Will you look to Jesus right now?
Here is a word from the Word. My prayer is that this will become a source of inspired hope today. “Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, …
Confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-11, The Message)
Abba, I humble myself before You today
confessing that I get wobbly, feel unprepared,
wonder if I can make the finish line.
Jesus, I think of Your faithfulness to me,
of your willingness to trust the Father even
when You did not want to go to the Cross, and
You FINISHED the work He sent You to do.
Help me to do the same.
Spirit of God, inspire, enthuse, and equip me.
Help me to shake off the feelings of worthlessness,
to press past the desire to quit on You.
Set the goal in front of me;
raise my eyes to see the promise of
Heaven and the Kingdom.
In Jesus’ name. Amen