Beginning strong is easy. It is one reason we all look forward to a new year on the calendar. It is a fresh start, a new beginning. A do-over, so to speak. But what about finishing strong? It can prove to be more of a challenge.
I sat on my back porch over the weekend, basking in the brisk, fall breeze. As I sneezed, which is always a reminder of seasons changing, I realized this year is quickly coming to a close. Fall is upon us and then we will be ushered into winter.
Lately, I hear many talking about the things they didn’t see happen this year. It seems many had perceived promises that they expected to see.
However, the year didn’t bring everything they hoped it would. That can be disappointing.
However, as we know, God doesn’t work on our calendar. He is faithful and true. His promises are faithful and true. Everything He has vowed and promised us will come to pass, as we remain in faith.
Hebrews 3:14 says it this way; For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.
Hold our confidence…steadfast to the end.
How do we do that? How do we remain steadfast in our faith?
In the Christian life, we are not sprinters…but marathoners. Although both require hard work, there are vast differences in what it takes to excel. Sprinters train for a short, quick, burst of energy. This reminds me of a shooting star.
We have seen some of these in the Body of Christ. A new minister will come on the scene and shine brightly for a moment and then you don’t hear of them any longer. Why? They did not train as a marathoner, but a sprinter. They had a short, quick burst of anointing and then they were gone.
Therefore, to hold our confidence steadfast to the end, first, our foundation must be strong. For a strong foundation, we must train differently.
Long distance runners train differently.
They learn how to conserve energy. They learn to deal with the highs and lows of the race. They train themselves to keep their eyes on the finish line. They do not allow themselves to be distracted by anything or anyone around them.
Philippians 3:13-14 says; Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.
Preparing for a marathon is like preparing to finish the year strong in God. Longevity takes a strong foundation. It takes flexibility. It takes a willingness to adapt. Life seldom goes according to plan; therefore, we must learn to adjust and move on.
What then is the key to finishing strong? Endurance.
The apostle Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7, NKJV). He wasn’t boasting. He was merely saying he had run the race with endurance and remained steadfast to the end.
Every Christian has a destiny, a course God has for them. It may be full-time ministry, accounting, farming, or it may be to be the best Mom you can be. Whatever your course, we are all called to begin and finish well.
Paul knew what it took to finish well. He wrote, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).
This means we walk the walk. We do not just talk the talk. Paul lived what he preached, as should we.
1 John 2:6-7 says; But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.
In life, we will cross many finish lines, but we never really finish the race until we stand before Jesus, our Lord. Until then, we must continue to fight the good fight. To keep the faith. To hold our confidence steadfast to the end.
We must run our race daily, with endurance, steadfast to the end. In doing that, we will finish this year and every other year, strong in God.
As the crisp fall air reminds us seasons are changing, let’s remember to run our race daily with endurance. Remain steadfast. In doing so we will finish this year – and every year, strong in God.
Meditate on this:
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24