Run to the finish line
Long-distance runners don’t just focus on speed, but on endurance. They pace themselves so that as they approach the finish line, they’re not completely spent, but have a bit of effort in reserve to make a last push to win. The Message paraphrases Paul’s words: ‘I’m running hard for the finish line…giving it everything I’ve got…I’m not going to get caught…telling everyone else…then missing out myself’ (v.26-27 MSG). For long-distance runners, giving up isn’t an option, despite the difficulties and disappointments along the way. And when we set out to fulfil our God-given purpose in life, we need to give it everything we’ve got, right to the end. We need to go for it, not forgetting that Jesus said, ‘Great gifts mean great responsibilities’ (Luke 12:48 MSG). It’s one thing to be successful in the task assigned to us; it’s another thing to handle the pressures that go along with it. ‘Jesus…finished this race…Because he never lost sight of where he was headed…he could put up with anything’ (Hebrews 12:2 MSG). Having something great to look forward to enables us to endure the struggles we’ll face along the way. And God will expose us to opposition and criticism to strengthen our characters; that way when greater blessings and responsibilities come, we’ll be able to handle them. But we need to have a passion to cross the finish line, and must ask ourselves: ‘Am I willing to pay the price?’ When the pressure is on, are we willing to stand up like Nehemiah when he rebuilt Jerusalem’s walls and tell our opponents: ‘My work is too important to stop’ (Nehemiah 6:3 CEV)? If we can answer ‘yes,’ let’s fix our eyes on the goal and run to the finish line.
Go out for a run (or a long walk if you prefer). As you follow your route, ask God to increase your strength and endurance so you can run with Him towards the goal He’s set you.
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