“I have fought . . I have finished . . I have remained faithful.” 2 Timothy 4:7 NLT
“Finishing well requires tenacity, resolve, and integrity.”
My thoughts today are to “finish well.”
I find this quote to be true, “After everything is said and done, more has been said than ever was done!” Life is filled with the best of intentions. Some ambitious intentions we are incapable of accomplishing; others we could have achieved, we did not for one reason or another. People’s lives can be like that; people run out of time, or energy, or resource shy of completion.
With many everyday things that may not matter much. But there are some consequential things in which that will matter a lot. Think of how that can relate to friendships, marriages, families, careers, plans for retirement. No bride or groom ever stood at an altar with thoughts of a failed marriage; no parent ever held a newborn child in their arms, thinking they would be too busy at work or negligent at home. Meaning well is a good beginning, but wins no awards for lifetime achievement. Paul asked the Christ-followers at Galatia, “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Galatians 5:7 NKJV. Is something hindering your progress?
The Apostle Paul looked across the span of his faith-life and wrote, “The time has come for my departure. I have fought a good fight; I have finished the race; and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me – the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge will give me on that great day of His return.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8 NLT. Finishing well requires tenacity to “fight a good fight,” resolve to “finish the race,” and integrity to “remain faithful.” Between the success of the good fight and the finished race is the essential task of remaining faithful – the same from beginning to end. Can God and others count on you? Then, the crown and His “well done” awaits.
Paul’s supernatural encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus burned into his heart and soul a singular goal, to finish well. That is a recurring theme woven through his letters to the churches. Appearing before King Agrippa, Paul recounted his initial experience with Jesus that dramatically changed the course of his life forever, concluding this way, “So then, I was not disobedient to the vision from Heaven.” See 26:12-19 NIV. His earthly journey finished well. Read Philippians 1:20-24 NLT.
Jesus’ example should inspire a similar passion in every redeemed heart. Upon the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished! . . Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.” That was not resignation but declaration, not the whimper of a dying man’s surrender to a cruel fate, as some standing by must have assumed. Had they listened with their hearts, they would have heard instead the triumphant voice of Heaven’s Champion who embraced his eternal destiny and would storm the gates of hell, “leading captivity captive, and giving gifts unto men.” Ephesians 4:8-10 NKJV.
What have you begun that you need to finish well – university studies, promises given, marriage vows promised, business agreements, or spiritual commitments? Do you still marvel at the grace shown you in salvation? Is your walk with Christ joyous and abundant as at the beginning? Is your life resting in Christ completely, whatever the circumstance? Today, Dennis, a pastor and friend, wrote these words, “I am reminded over and over that the goal in life is so very simple that it can be captured in two simple words . . finish well.” I couldn’t say it better, or mean it more.
My prayer for you today is that you have the joy of God’s pleasure over all you do.