Faith of a Father

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; – Hebrews 10:23

#11 Running the Race: The Finish Line

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                                                                                                  Finish line

11. A goal is set – the finish line. Every race has a finish line. I remember running in the 4 miler and I started to see signs indicating the finish line was “just” ahead, so I was inspired to press on. I’d go around the corner and see another sign indicating the finish line was “just” ahead, so on I struggled. Finally, I could see the finish line, it was in sight! I was hurting and exhausted but once I actually saw it I was encouraged again. It didn’t matter that hundreds had crossed the line before me, I made it. I finished my first race. I was satisfied.

The goal of all runners is to finish their course. To finish the course set before them. Depending on the runner the goal may be to just finish the course and to have a feeling of personal accomplishment while for others it may be to finish in a specific time or in a specific placing such as in first place or top ten. Some run for the fame or the endorsements, but whatever the reason, completion is the goal.

I Corinthians 9 Paul talks about how as a free man he became a servant to have an audience with the slave, he became a Jew that he might witness to the Jews, and he became as weak to have opportunity to minister to the weak. In verse 23 he says he does all this, he denies himself of what is rightfully his position and station in life so that he might be a partner with whom he writes and that they might share in the winning of souls to Christ to the honoring and glory of Christ. From this Paul moves in to the passage that states:                                                                                                

“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 therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

In my 4 miler, while many received a prize, only one received “the prize”. Not so in our Christian race, God is no respecter of persons. Everyone that runs His race receives an incorruptible crown, the crown of everlasting life. What more could we every want or need, a reward that will never perish. A reward of eternity in heaven with the God of the universe, how great is that?

In Philippians chapter 3 Paul tells of his background, his pedigree, a man of means and station but he says he counts it all loss for Christ. He calls it all dung. What he had, the fame, the position as part of the Sanhedrin, the revered name, the success, and no doubt the fortune, he gave it all up for Christ. In verse 13 he says that he hasn’t “arrived”, nor is he some great man in society because of what he had accomplished in his past. Paul willingly put all these things, all these worldly successes behind him so that he might reach forth to those things which God has before him. He said he presses toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Reader, are you willing to leave those things behind that are hindering you from moving forward with Christ? Many people pursue fame and fortune, they strive for status and position in life, they seek recognition and accolades above all else. Some are even willing to put their struggle for material success above even their family and worse, their faith, to obtain a perishable crown. Is there anything wrong with success and striving for excellence? Of course not, as Christians we are commanded to do our best in whatever our hand finds to do. The question is how do you define success? Is it defined by things and position or in a relationship with Christ? As we see in the passages previously mentioned Paul didn’t define his success in his pedigree or in his status with the religious leaders of the day, he defined his success by his relationship with Christ.

What is your life’s goal? Yes we all want to live a comfortable life but what is driving you to live each day? How do you want to finish your course? Are you, am I seek a corruptible crown or an incorruptible crown? When your life comes to an end how will you be remembered? Will your life be summed up by the dash between two dates or will your life have eternal significance? Will your friends remember you for a brief period of time or are you striving to leave a lasting legacy?

“Two little lines I heard one day, 
Traveling along life’s busy way;
 
Bringing conviction to my heart,
 
And from my mind would not depart;
 
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, 
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
 
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
 
And stand before His Judgement seat;
 
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, 
Gently pleads for a better choice
 
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
 
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
 
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, 
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
 
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
 
living for self or in His will;
 
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, 
When Satan would a victory score;
 
When self would seek to have its way,
 
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
 
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, 
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
 
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
 
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
 
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, 
And from the world now let me turn;
 
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
 
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
 
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, 
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
 
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
 
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
 
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
 
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
 
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
 
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

C.T Studd

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Author: faithofafather

A father of 5 children, my goal is to be an encouragement and blessing to others as we walk through this life living the Christian faith rearing our children for the glory of God.

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