Approaching the Finish Line of Life’s Greatest Race

As I read Don’s post last week about Running the Race Worth Running, my mind conjured images of the finish line, and the race Paul tells me I am running (2 Timothy 4:7). Immediately, questions dashed through my mind.

  • Is the purpose of my race always before me?
  • Am I trusting God for His strength and power as I run?
  • Am I giving my best effort?
  • All the way to the finish line? What about energy and health and everything else that is falling apart?

And as the questions darted, I remembered that this was exactly the time to stop, reflect, and speak truth into my soul.

Reflections on the Lap Before Me

TRUTH: WE ARE IN A BATTLE.

I run because, when all is said and done, my heart’s desire is that my children and their children and their children and all the generations of my family will know God and be together with Him.

This is not, however, Satan’s desire. In fact, it is truth that he will do everything in his power to keep this very thing from happening. I must remember that this battle for the souls of my family members is constantly raging all around. The enemy is determined, and he pulls no punches. He does his best to distract me, pull my eyes off Jesus Christ, and render me ineffective in passing a heritage of faith to the next generations.

Therefore, I must prepare myself for battle by spending time with God in prayer, in His Word, and through the other various spiritual disciplines. I also need a battle plan – one that is well thought out and even written down.

TRUTH: I CANNOT RUN THE RACE IN MY OWN STRENGTH.

Strength? What strength? I’m sure I don’t need to waste the time or the words talking about the waning strength and energy that comes with this season of life. Oh my, just crawling out of bed some days or trying to bend over to pick something up!

But I don’t run this race in my own strength. The simple truth is, I can’t! It’s just not possible.

However, there is strength – strength beyond my imaginings – that is available to me as I run.

These passages in the book of Ephesians along with many others, tell me that I am strengthened with power through His Spirit. Not only that, but that this power resides within me and is at work within me.

Why on earth would I waste any time trying to run in my own strength, when I have access to His mighty strength and power?

As I run this lap toward the finish line, I would do well to consider Caleb who at eighty-five years of age was still going strong.

And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.

Joshua 14:10-11

I’m pretty sure by this testimony, that Caleb regularly called upon God’s strength rather than trying to run in his own.

TRUTH: THE RACE TAKES EFFORT ON MY PART.

It is true that I cannot run the race in my own strength. It is also true that I am powerless to “give my faith to future generations.” I cannot bequeath God to anyone. Only God can bestow God.

Much of the work required for my race is God’s. He imparts strength. He endows with power. He alone can save. I must trust Him to do His part.

But I cannot sit back on that trust and do nothing. There is a work that is mine, and I must determine to do the work, finish the race, and finish it well.

Instead of succumbing to the temptation to slow to a crawl because my body aches or exiting the race because I don’t have the energy, I must look to Jesus and cling to His truths. Slowing down or quitting are not options. Rather, I am to pick up the pace, right through the tape, all the way to the finish line.

TRUTH: I HAVE A CHOICE.

God grants me the freedom to choose. The choice is mine.

I can choose to spend this season of my life selfishly, indulging myself, because I’ve earned it. Or I can choose to spend this lap of the race mourning the fleeting time, bemoaning the changes in my physical frame, and trying to hold on to what was. Or I can choose to finish well.

A Challenge as We Run the Lap

The challenge before each of us is, “How will we choose to run?” And if we make the choice to finish well, how will we go about it. (Remember, we need a battle plan!)

If you have made the choice to finish well and are looking for a place to begin, may I challenge you to download the Finishing Well PDF below. Then spend the next 30 days meditating on the characteristics and scriptures listed. Take one characteristic a day. Read it. Meditate on the scripture. Reflect on the characteristic and how it is or could be exhibited in your life.

Together, let’s fix our gaze transfixed on Jesus Christ and make it our goal to finish well.