There's an old saying that I just don't think means much anymore and that is "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." That all sounds fine and dandy, but how few actually see that played out in life. To be honest, for most of us, when the going gets tough, we get going into the pits of despair, depression and a new med program that seeks to run away from the hardships of life.
So I guess the question is, "is it possible to finish well for Jesus in a tough world?" I would like to suggest that based upon Scripture, it is more than possible, it is expected of us. Why wouldn't those of us who have found freedom from sin in Christ live out our lives in victory right until the finish line?
In preparation for my message this week, here are a few thoughts I've been chewing on.
1) We need to run fully aware that many don't finish well. Anybody who runs the race of life unaware of an enemy looking to knock them out of the race permanently is nuts. It's possible to get way off course if we don't take seriously God's call to die to sin through Christ our Lord.
2) It takes courage and resilience to finish well. Life is going to throw all kinds of challenges our way. Some of them are self inflicted while others hit us out of no where. Whatever the challenge, the call to run with endurance and perseverance through some of the pain is necessary. I'm becoming more and more impressed with those who finish well because I'm learning it takes guts to do so.
3) I need to stay focused on Jesus. He and He alone is my ultimate example of how we can endure incredible pain in this journey by keeping the eternal in focus. It is only when we consider Jesus that we will not grow weary and lose heart. People will let you down, but Jesus will forever be our perfect example on how to run a race and finish it well.
4) Be encouraged by those real life Christ followers who are honest enough to say that they've gutted it out to the finish line in the power and strength of Christ. I believe it is important to look to those individuals standing at the finish line with a smile on their face amidst the battle scars of life that litter their bodies and minds. They are not smiling because life was easy, but because of who they are in Christ their Lord. They've run well for Him and He has faithfully seen them through hell and back.
For any who might be reading my thoughts through this blog, I trust you will never give up on your race for Jesus because Jesus will never give up on you. He rescued and set you free from sin so that you may finish your race with great success not because of who you are, but because of who Jesus is. It doesn't mean it will be easy, but you can finish well with joy in your heart. The best thing you can leave those lives you touch in life after you are gone is a godly legacy that saw you finish your race well for Christ!