Finishing Strong

I set a new PR this morning in a 10k race!

Over the past few months I’ve been training for this race with average success.  My workouts weren’t great, often lacking in intensity and settling for average.  The last three weeks I got a little more serious and pushed myself with consistent speed workouts and solid tempo runs.  It paid off.  I had a plan to set a PR and stuck to the plan throughout the entire race to finish well under my goal.

Paul writes near the end of his life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:4)  Here is a man who had a plan for his life, kept to it and finished strong.  He had his share of ups and downs, but even through the pain he accomplished his goal: he glorified Christ throughout his life in all circumstances.

For the 10k race this morning my goal was to finish under 55 minutes.  At the five-mile mark I was at 44:50; slightly over pace that I needed to be at to reach my goal.  It was time to focus and knock out the last leg with a good fight.  As the field house and stadium came into sight with 3/4 of a mile to go, I experienced a new surge of energy.  My goal was not to go out fast, but to stick to the plan and finish strong with every bit of energy left.  As I entered the stadium to finish on the quarter mile track, I knew it was time to give it my all.  With a fast quarter mile kick, I crossed the finish line the way I wanted to: strong and satisfied with the way I ran the race (and at 54:14).

Isn’t that how we all want to finish the race of life?

Unlike a race, we don’t know where the finish is, but we do know the plan.  The believer’s goal in life is to live this life in such a way that it glorifies God in all that we do.  Paul writes, “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Col.1:9-10)

How are you doing sticking to the plan?

Do you have goals?  How will you know if you finish strong?  Do you even have spiritual goals for this week?

If you struggle with spiritual goals, take a hint from Paul’s prayer for us.  If knowledge is your goal, consider taking a chapter of book of the Bible and digging deeper this week.  If it is spiritual wisdom, consider spending the next month reading and mediating on the Proverbs.  If it’s about changing an attitude or habit in your life, consider finding a few verses that highlight the behavior that is pleasing to the Lord and share with a friend who will hold you accountable to your actions and words.  If’s its bearing fruit in every good work, plan to volunteer in your community with the purpose of sharing Christ to those you meet.

Consider creating a plan for this month.  Take the month of May and set some goals so that you can finish strong when May 31st rolls around.  Share them with a friend.  Post them on the refrigerator.  Tape them to your bathroom mirror.  Better yet, go over them before and after every run this month.  Plan to finish strong this month of May!!

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Col. 2:6-7)

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