Over the last month I have been talking about our Christian life and how to finish well. This simply means that our life in Christ comes with seasons that consist of good times and bad times. It’s how you work through these seasons that determines how we will finish.
The Apostle Paul brings a great example of how to live through good and bad times. When we read through 2 Corinthians, we see that he reveals a list of things he has gone through as he faithfully served Jesus. To make a comparison of our bad stuff to Paul’s bad stuff would be very difficult as our events and circumstances wouldn’t come close to what Paul had to endure.
As Paul encouraged Timothy with his calling in serving Jesus, Paul remarked saying “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7. This statement is something I have adapted to define my life with Jesus as I serve Him with everything I have. The statement is “I will not shy away from the good fight, I will run to finish the race, I will stay committed to the faith.”
Paul describes our Christian life as running a race and through his letters it emerges as a common theme Paul uses this theme to encourage his readers to not give up, but keep running. He reveals the key to running this race and to finishing well.
Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 1 Corinthians 9:26.
Paul was able to finish well because he was focused on what mattered the most. He was focused and committed to the life he found with Jesus. Our life in Christ must be the same, having this same focus and commitment to Jesus.
The writer to the Hebrews, possibly Paul, writes these encouraging words which are full of wisdom:
“…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2
Paul definitely did say this:
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24
Paul finished well and is a great example to follow when it comes to enduring the bad times we face from time to time. Our circumstances, hardships, trials and hurts are difficult and usually unavoidable and we would all prefer to live life without these things. However, we can’t.
What we can do to help us endure is to follow through what Paul did, and then he could say that he ran to finish this race well. In his second letter to the Corinthian church he touched on 11 things to show that we all can run and finish this race set before us.
I have made these 11 things for you to make as a covenant between you and God so you too, can join with many others to run this race and to finish well despite the difficult circumstances this race brings.
The Covenant to Finishing Well
I will understand and accept life will bring good and bad times
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
I will depend on the prayers of others
2 Corinthians 1:9-11
I will not carry around a list of personal grudges
2 Corinthians 2:5-11
I will feel close and connected to God in everything I am doing in my life
2 Corinthians 3:16-4:1
I will see the eternal while I live in the temporal
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I will cheerfully please God knowing one day I will stand before Him
2 Corinthians 5:9-10, 14
I will know the importance of being a faithful example
2 Corinthians 6:4-10
I will claim all God’s promises and be consecrated to Him
2 Corinthians 6:16- 7:1
I will receive the loved care of others
2 Corinthians 7:5-7
I will choose to draw closer to God through distress and adversity
2 Corinthians 7:9-12
I will continually recognise my limitations and rely on God’s strength
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Use this covenant to help you endure through whatever you might be facing, remembering that every season has an end. Spend some time working through the verses to each point and allow God to speak to you so you can avoid the idea of giving up and press on to finishing well.