"You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?"
While in college, I practiced a few times with the soccer team. I was never part of the team. I simply enjoyed the exercise and spending time with friends.
One day the soccer coach said we were running seven miles on the track. I thought to myself, “no big deal”. I started out well, as did the other guys, but began to struggle during the fourth mile. My soccer friends soon passed me and finished the seven mile course. I admit, reluctantly, that I dropped out around mile six.
Let’s say we were in a race. I was in the lead by a great margin the whole race, but dropped out during the last lap. Eventually, you finished the race. I clearly was faster than you, but you won the race because you did not give up – you finished the race.
In the same way, there are people who started off with a great burst of energy as they followed the Lord. Maybe you were one of those people. Maybe you came to Christ when you were younger, but have not been living for Him as an adult. Or perhaps you trusted in the Lord more recently. How you were running a year ago, or even a month ago, is no longer significant. Its how you are running right now that matters. Are you keeping up the pace? Are you growing stronger as a Christian? Have you given up because of tough times or an offense? Are you going to make it across the finish line? You can make it if you want to.
A lot of people start a lot of things, but never finish them. Jesus wants you to experience a lifetime of growing in Him, not just a short season. God does not want you to give up on Him because tough times or discouragement may come. After all, He will never give up on you (Hebrews 13:5).
There will be times as you live the Christian life when it will be hard. You will have to hold on to God's Word and the promise that He will complete the work He has begun in your life (Philippians 1:6). But will you make the effort to cross the finish line?
Jesus and others are cheering for you to finish the race – to grow in your relationship with Christ over a lifetime. But you must run the race, one step at a time. Get your eyes off the situation that caused you to drop out. Fix your eyes on Jesus. There is a finish line ahead and victory in store. The Bible says that we will receive a harvest of blessing if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9). Don’t just start out well – finish well. I pray God will give you the endurance to get back in the race and experience, once again, Christ’s rich plans for your life.