Finishing Well

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”——-Hebrews 12:1-3

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Faith is at the core of the life of a believer.  Faith is that which must be lived out day by day and moment by moment.  Keeping our focus and priority on Jesus doesn’t happen naturally, but must be consciously pursued and applied throughout our lives.

It is critical that we view faith in Jesus through the lens of our daily walk with Him.  If we don’t purposefully spend time in prayer, in the Word, meeting with other believers, and all the things the Bible describes of the characteristics of true Christians, we might find ourselves falling away or even defining faith on our terms and not God’s.  And to reduce faith to a one-time event or even a set of knowledge statements we might check off on a form, is to make light of Jesus’ sacrifice.

One of the many great things that my dad taught me growing up was an acronym, F.L.A.P.  What this term means is to, “Finish Like A Pro”.  In other words, do everything the with the best effort and to the best of your ability.  This goes for everything we do in life.  Whether it be the simple day to day tasks of taking care of our families and homes, to our jobs, or even more so with our faith and walk with the Lord.

As we have been going through the book of Hebrews as a church, it is clear the importance of living out faith in a person’s entire life.  In the first few verses of Hebrews 12, the writer gives us the challenge that because of Jesus’ sacrifice and the examples of people walking by faith throughout Scripture, we have an obligation to press on in faith as well.  This pressing on in faith seeks to put the deeds of sin behind us and to continue to grow in our trust and obedience to the Lord.

Faith is described as a race that is run with “endurance”.  If we view faith as a “long-distance” race rather than a “sprint”, we realize that faith is a daily decision we make in pursuing the Lord.  And as in any race, we don’t sit passively by in hopes that we attain the end goal, but rather we train, practice, and do the work that it demands.

What ends up happening as we press on in faith is that we become much more aware of having an eternal perspective rather than simply an earthly perspective.  So when we feel overwhelmed by our circumstances of things like health problems, jobs, broken relationships, or so many other things, good or bad, we take them in stride knowing that there is much greater hope beyond our life here.  But this takes a firm foundation of faith being applied throughout our whole life.

Hebrews 12:3 is a great verse to spend time thinking about.  When we ponder what Jesus went through and His sacrifice for us, it reminds us of the reason for finishing the race of faith well.  Because Jesus paid the penalty for our sin and rose again, we must gratefully walk in faith by denying our sinful desires and seek to grow in greater obedience to Him.  In no way can we ever think we can earn our way into salvation, but merely because of Jesus’ sacrifice we strive to fully submit ourselves to Him.  In doing so, we overcome the temptation of growing weary and losing heart; knowing that just as Jesus endured suffering during His time here for living in the Truth, it gives us the hope and strength to do so as well.

I guess the question must be, how are we each doing in finishing well??  Maybe some haven’t started in their faith in Jesus or others have grown weary and lost heart.  No matter how we answer this question, it is time for us to consider once again that we find ourselves pressing on in faith no matter what circumstances we may encounter because the hope we have in Jesus is so much greater than anything we might face in our lives.

As we find this year coming to close and reflect back over the year, let us also look ahead to next year and make it a priority that we look to finish well in all things being grounded in our faith in Jesus.  Let’s commit ourselves to growing ever more faithful to the One who is worthy of all praise.