Finish the race!

When the COVID19 crisis rolled around in mid-March, I suppose I was naïve, thinking “All right, 4 weeks and we will get back to normal.” Then, it stretched on and on and on. The bad news multiplied and the last week of protest and civil unrest has only added to our uncertainty. Do you want to find a retreat, take a break, quit?

It is said that “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”  Yeah, true perhaps but all the inspiring mottos in the world just aren’t enough right now.  I need more and I find it in the strength that is given us by the Spirit of God.  Truly, friend, these times can reveal a strength we did not know we had. By His grace, and in His power, we can stand! 

God, the Spirit, inspires us to stick with it, to finish the race. In Hebrews 12:1 we read- “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT)  

The NT was first written in Greek and that word ‘endurance’ is the translation of this word:  – hupomone (hoop·om·on·ay). Say it again! Hupomone!  The compound word means to ‘bear up under pressure.’  The metaphor written into the text is the picture of that distance runner who pushes the limits of his physical endurance with the finish line in sight. Unlike a sprinter who pours every ounce of energy into a 100 meter dash, the marathoner sets a pace that he can maintain, steadily and consistently.

This is the picture of the Christian life, especially in difficult times.
We press on, with patience, with endurance. Hupomone!

Let me make the point again, disciple. This Christian life is not just about a BIG start, it’s about a faithful finish!  We all admire ‘finishers.’ Those people who keep their word, who fulfill their calling, who maintain faith, who keep on serving, who show up in sunshine and rain inspire me. How about you?  I love reading about marriages that go the distance – 50, 60, even 70 years. Bev and I only made it to 40 before the Lord called her home, so I’m a little envious, too. When I think about 5 decades of marriage, I see patience that they showed in seasons of changes. I think about working through the stresses of raising a family. I see people willing to work hard at building a life together.

Are you a finisher?
Do you wisely make your commitments, praying for guidance – and seeing them through to completion?

Jesus told a teaching story about this. “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’

Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?
(Luke 14:28-32, The Message)

The implied conclusion is – FINISH what you start!

Remember that it isn’t “all guts, no glory.” Finishers enjoy what mere starters never find: the satisfaction of a job well done, a life well lived, a victor’s crown!

Listen to the encouragement of the Spirit. Keep connected to a team of people who share your vision. Keep the finish line in sight.

Here is a word from the Word, a promise from our Lord Jesus Christ. “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11, NIV)   Marantha!


Mighty To Save
(Let the greatness of God draw you to worship as you listen)

Ev’ryone needs compassion
Love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Ev’ryone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations

Saviour He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Ev’rything I believe in
Now I surrender

Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King

Ben Fielding | Reuben Morgan
© 2006 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055

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