This past Sunday, our pastor Lon Solomon preached an excellent and heart-moving sermon entitled: “Finishing Well” where he briefly surveyed the books of Philemon, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. In the course of his presentation he listed 4 suggestions which would help believers to finish well in accordance with Paul’s famous analogue about the Christian life as a race (1Co 9:24-25) in which the goal is not to start well but to finish well (2Ti 4:7-8).
1. We need to stay vitally connected to the Word of God (Psalm 119:9-11)
2. Don’t minimize how evil the human heart is! (Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm 139:23-24, Psalm 26:2 )
3. Don’t overestimate yourself (Romans 12:3)
4. Think about the consequences of our actions before we act (Proverbs 23:3)
When I think about the idea of starting well, I am reminded of the Parable of the Sower and the Seed (in Mathew 13:20-21) where the second group that received the Word of God (the seeds that fell on stony ground) are said to have initially and immediately received the Word with joy; in other words, one could say that they started the race well. But as we read on we find out that they never finished the race. Why? Well, they did not begin the race with the intention of finishing the race. They had “no root” in themselves so that when tribulation and persecution arises (and we are promised that all Christians that follow the “How To Be a Christian” Manual AKA the Bible, WILL face persecution) these folks that started the race well end up dropping out of the race. They become castaways.
Consider the following verses by Paul:
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2Ti 4:7-8)
Let us strive to finish well.