The final sprint
Reading the biblical texts of the Kings of Israel as they ascend to the throne brings a sense of apprehension. Even the Jews welcomed the new king with mixed reactions. Will he be faithful and obedient to God? Will he follow God or turn to idols?
Imagine how you began your walk of faith.
Look back at how you began the year. Has there been a change of heart as the days went by?
Let us consider king Asa. He was king of Judah for 41years. In his reign, 1Kings 15.11 reads, “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done”
Because he honored God during his reign. God gave him success. He was victorious in battle. The Egyptians couldn’t withstand him.
“The LORD defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled” (2 Chronicles 14:12).
He enforced true worship. He destroyed the altars of false gods. In 2Chronicles 14:3-4; “He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim and commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment” He was faithful to the end.
After 36 years…
Asa was faithful for 36years. In his 36th year, he did not seek God’s guidance when trouble arose between him and the king of Israel, Baasha.
He bribed the Syrians to fight Israel. He did not seek God as he always did. This time he went on with his plans alone.
Later he fell ill. He didn’t cry to God for healing. He sought for physicians.
He provoked God’s anger.
He faced constant battles for the remainder of his reign. He also suffered a crippling disease.
90% of his reign was pleasing to God. But only 5 short years out of 40 years he compromised.
He started well. He finished badly.
Imagine the joy of starting poorly and finishing strong and the pain of starting with vigor only to end in defeat and sorrow.
Another example is king saul. He could keep his faithfulness to the end. It did cost him his life and the lives of his entire family.
King David finished strong. Joshua did not waver in his faith. The disciples of Christ endured persecution and rejection, yet they kept their faith.
Like Asa, one can lead a godly life to almost the end of life then turn away from God and compromise. What a painful reality? Some give when they have almost finished. They should have held on a little longer.
Many people didn’t,..
Some christian leaders and even some church leaders remained faithful to their call, Enduring persecution as they firmly stood against heresy but in their later years, they falter. They crucify Christ one more time.
You can’t win a race until you finish well. Having kept all the rules and regulations of the game.
Every marathoner knows how to run and how to finish. There is always a first easy step and last painful step. He is familiar with both.
Anyone can start a race but not everyone can finish. Failing to finish a race is a waste of time and energy. Even if you fail a few steps to the finishing line, you didn’t finish.
Imposters and jokers start the race and run ahead of everyone playfully, but only a serious athlete will finish.
Nobody ever regretted finishing well.
We are all in a race. The race is not easy. Reaching the finishing line in one piece is a miracle we all look forward to.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
As Christians, our race is unique. We are not competing against each other. We are competing against time. There forces of the flesh, the world and the devil that are fighting hard to hinder us from finishing well.
Some started this year is a very strong manner. But as the year got closer to the close, they have grown weary. Their yearly dreams haven’t shown up just like the previous years.
They lost the passion, enthusiasm, and the drive for achieving their dreams. They are likely to finish poorly.
God has not changed. He didn’t change his mind concerning the promises.
Even when it’s just one week to go, keep the faith. God does not need 12 months to perform. He can fulfill His promises in an instant.
Do not despair because the year is almost over and you have not received the promise. Remember He is God.
Paul testified and said, “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” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
What your testimony at the end of every season, year, dispensation or lifetime. What would you say about yourself?
I am not talking about materials, money and social status. NO!
I am talking about the status of your heart. ARE YOU STILL PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR DREAMS? DO YOU STILL BELIEVE GOD FOR WHAT SEEMS FAR OFF?
Are you doubting your calling? Are you doubting God?
Is the fire still burning in your heart?
Keep the fire burning. Keep the faith. Be at peace with God and yourself.
The final sprint
J.I. Packer, in the final steps of his race, has written these words: “Runners in a distance race… always try to keep something in reserve for a final sprint. And my contention is that, so far as our bodily health allows, we should aim to be found running the last lap of the race of our Christian life, as we would say, flat out. The final sprint, so I urge, should be a sprint indeed.”
If you are going to run to win, you must finish strong.
” I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me”.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Christ in us strengthens us to finish well and strong.
May the Lord be with you.
And merry Christmas and a happy 2020