The Christian life is not a sprint, it is a long, arduous marathon. There are hills and valleys, highs and lows, joys and sorrow. It is every day. Sometimes we start slow. Sometimes fast. But it is how we finish that really counts.
The books of Joshua and Judges give us a picture of a great start, but an incomplete finish. God releases the Israelites from the oppression of Egypt. God gave them the promised land and said “Go” and they said “No”. Forty years later God again says “Go” and this time they do.
God told them where to go and what to do. Destroy the people of the land, there temples, altars of worship, and make no covenant with the people. God knew the consequences of failure. The inhabitants of the land would become a snare to the nation of Israel. Judges 2:1-3 states, “And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”
They completed only part of the task. They did not finish strong. The consequences were seen in the Book of Judges. They did not allow God and His word to lead them. Their failure to finish strong has been passed down to future generations.
Now, fast forward to our lives. Are our lives tracking for a strong finish or an incomplete or weak finish? Just like the nation of Israel, we must choose to obey God and His word. When we do, He will guide us to the Promised Land. When we do not we will be mired in all the filth of this world and it becomes a snare to us.
Paul summed up this teaching very well in Philippians 3:13-14. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Can this be said about us? Is it our purpose in life to finish strong? Let us make a concerted effort to make that happen!
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001