And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
It was pure art. She ran effortlessly. Her legs glided down the track. Her arms were pumping in what looked like three-quarter speed. And yet, she distanced herself from the rest of the runners. As the one hundred meters first place timer, my eyes were on her. She, no doubt, was the winner. But then…with about twenty meters to go, she committed the cardinal sin of sprinting. She looked back to check out the runners behind her. The motion disrupted her stride and caused her to stumble. She fell hard, her body skidding on the track. In great pain, she crawled over the finish line…in third place.
I will never forget that moment and the lesson God taught me. Stumbling can occur even when you are ahead and almost finished. It’s great to start well. It’s important to run hard. But you have to finish strong. That is Paul’s desire in this passage. He knows the race will not be easy. His future days include prison and hardship, but Paul is committed to finish the race and complete the task that Christ has given him. Nothing else matters.
What about you? Are you on target to finish the race and complete the task that God has given you? Are your eyes fixed on him? Is your focus so intense that nothing else matters? What is the Spirit compelling you to do? Life is too short to be running the wrong race. The race is too important to run without determination and focus. So run hard! And finish strong!
- Ask God to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Ask him to help you turn from distractions.
- Ask God for the strength to finish strong so that your children and grandchildren are left with a godly legacy.
Father, you have given me a great race to run. Help me to look forward; to push ahead; to keep my focus. Help me run hard and finish strong. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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