Finish the Race
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
I’ve been around long enough to know some men and women whose lives were totally sold out to God a few years ago but who have since walked off the track in the middle of the race. They’ve given up. They’ve lost their longing for God and all He is. They’re AWOL from the Christian life . . .
The fear of following in their footsteps haunts me. It should you, too. The possibility is real for all of us unless we allow our hearts to be completely gripped by God . . . today- now. The faithfulness of my walk with God in the next year and the next decades depends on my willingness to stay current with God. In a word-to stay in relationship with Him.
I never want to lose the grip God’s greatness has on my life and the supreme privilege it is to be in relationship with Him and to serve Him faithfully till the day I am welcomed into His presence. That passion compels me. It keeps me very honest and very humble before God.
The last thing I want to do is crawl across the finish line a defeated, derailed Christian or worse-give up the race before my life is over. I want to break that tape with arms high and my face to the sun and say with the apostle Paul, “I have finished the course; I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 3:7).
So what can we do now to ensure that finish line victory? We can get back to basics: Honestly answer these seven questions:
Do I hunger after God?
Does God’s Word govern my life?
Do I grieve over sin?
How quickly do I repent when I see my wrong?
Am I sensitive to the Spirit’s prompting me?
Do I obey?
Is my faith growing?
Return to these questions regularly and ask God to help you every morning to run the race.
by James MacDonald
2 Timothy 4:7
Preach the Word
…6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but to all who crave His appearing.…
I’d Rather Be Hunting
He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds…to shepherd Jacob His people. Psalm 78:70-71
When Jason Cruise was pastoring a church, he sometimes felt guilty because he wanted to be hunting. One day it dawned on him God was calling him to minister to sportsmen. In the NIV Outdoorsman Bible, he wrote of the moment, “God’s heart connected with mine and pushed me toward the idea that I could use my passion for hunting to bring him glory…. When I was a young boy stomping through the woods, I had no clue that God was preparing me to hunt with a purpose…or that I’d get the honor of speaking to hunters across the nation…and yet do it all in the name of Jesus.”
The Lord gives us passions, purposes, and life experiences—like hunting or shepherding—to prepare us for the personal and unique ministry He has for us. No experiences of life are wasted. He prepares us to stand up for Him, and every part of your background can fashion you for what He wants you to do today.
Monumental changes often occur in simple, quiet moments, and it’s in those few seconds that a person makes a clean break with an old way of living and never looks back. Jason Cruise
Taking the Next Step
When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.
Every Christian must experience the essence of the incarnation by bringing the next step down into flesh-and-blood reality and by working it out with his hands. We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you. Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ in John 13:1-17.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
Sincerity means that the appearance and the reality are exactly the same. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount