Thursday, July 29, 2010

Finishing Strong

1 Corinthians 9:24 (MSG) You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally.

In the game of life as well as serving the Lord it is not how we start the race but how we finish that matters. There are seasons of life where everything goes right. We are on a winning streak, make good choices, make right decisions, and take wise steps. However, this season does not last forever. Eventually seasons change and we struggle. Perhaps we have problems within our families. Injury or offense comes. We get injured by a bad deal ,a harsh word, or the loss of a career. Instead of pressing forward toward the prize, we are tempted to give up.

Paul encourages us not to give up or give in but to finish the race. In other words, it is not how strong we start, but how strong we finish. It is not how a marriage or family began; it is how strong our relationships grow. It is not who or what may hinder, bring us down, or when we messed up. It’s about pressing on and winning the prize. However, in order to win the prize we must finish the race we began.

Living for the Lord everybody wins. It is different than earthly games where only one person or one team can win the prize. I Corinthians 9:24 explains “There are many runners but only one prize.” In the Christian race all may obtain the prize which is the crown of life. We are chosen to be on God’s team – the winning team. As children of God, it doesn’t matter how many times we get knocked down. We can still finish the race as strong winners

Life is going to bring us down from time to time. The Bible says because we live in a fallen world, we should expect adversity. If you are on a winning streak right now; look out! Adversity may soon be running behind you. It takes a made up mind to stay in the ‘game’. After being knocked down you may need to forgive someone who has hurt you or prevented you from playing well. Stay focused on the Word it adds power and endurance to finish.

Get rid of weights which will hinder your ability to finish:
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (NIV)
Make up your mind to persevere:
Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” (NIV)
Keep pressing, you are going to make it:
Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)