I live on the edge of danger, it seems. Who, me? Well, danger of a sort. It’s the danger of never finishing anything I start. I enjoy writing short fiction pieces for several reasons, but one of those reasons is simply that they are quick and relatively easy to concoct. Novels, on the other hand, take a whole lot of ingredients along with lots of measuring and stirring and long, slow simmering. Which is why mine seem to remain neglected, put off and forever unfinished.
Starting and stopping, putting off and procrastinating, losing interest, changing course and haphazardly dropping projects altogether – none of these things gets me to the finish line. Living like that is dangerous. The danger is that effectiveness is lost and change never comes about, not for me nor for those I could perhaps be ministering to.
‘Finish’ is a word I sense the Holy Spirit speaking to me often. He urges me toward discipline, and His Holy Fire never seems to let up. He is refining and purging, and always encouraging me not to give up. He is training me to submit to His leadership and training me to run with endurance.
The balance of this, of course, is to be careful that I am still following – that I haven’t charged ahead of Him by not waiting for His guidance, His plan and – as a writer and artist – His inspiration. Sometimes I need to advance and move forward aggressively. Sometimes I need to slow down and rest. At all times I need to listen for that still, small voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit. It is as though He is pacing me in my race.
Though I recognize the significance of not finishing specific tasks in my life, there is clearly a much greater danger faced by all Christians, and that is not finishing the overall, real race – the race all Christians are called to run. Nothing is more important than that race, because it represents our faith, our very life in Christ. And quite truthfully, we are not called to merely ‘run’ that race, but to ‘win’ that race.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Hebrews 12:1 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,
2fixing 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.
It’s easy to become complacent in our walk – our race - at times. We can think back on times of renewal and of feeling so close to God that He was everything that mattered. The danger is in losing the focus of our first love. Do you remember your first love? How close do you feel to Him now? Are you drifting in your relationship? If you are, don’t blame God, because He never drifts. You drift. I drift. He remains faithful.
Hebrews 2:1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
I’m thankful for His love and patience. I’m thankful that He warns me when I begin to drift, paying less heed to Him. He warns me of the danger, reminding me to wake up and pay attention! I’m thankful for His very steady influence in my life – much like the rudder of a boat, guiding it to safety.
1 Timothy 1:18-19 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
Revelation 3:2 'Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.
What if God didn’t finish the things He started? Unthinkable, I know. That’s a relief! Because if He didn’t follow through on His plans, it would have been the doom of you, me and the entire human race – perhaps at the first crunch of that juicy apple in the hands of Adam and Eve. I’m glad His plan is something He never deviates from – the redemption of all mankind through the sacrifice of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The happy news is that all of those projects we actually do finish – you know, the ones that are like assignments from Him, and done for His glory as acts of love and obedience – are not forgotten by Him. Rather, at the finish line they are, in a sense, stamped by His approval and come with His promise of reward. Even before we get to the finish line, if we are making the effort to run well, by faith in Him, then we have peace, and that alone makes it all worthwhile.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Job 42:1-2Then Job answered the LORD and said, "I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
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