We have probably all heard the statement, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that counts.” There is a lot of truth to that statement. But let me ask this question, how many of us begin something or do something knowing that one day our life will end? We only have a certain amount of time on this earth. An amount of days that are fixed for us by God. There is no changing of this amount of time. I would submit to you that if we thought about this, we would probably invest our time a little bit differently. I know this is something that I have been thinking about, especially over the last week due to some personal reasons and circumstances. I think sometimes God allows us to be faced with our own mortality to refocus us when we have drifted off course. Listen to what Luke wrote about Paul in Acts 20:22-24, “And see, now I go bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me here, except the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of those things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
The Holy Spirit had told Paul that he was going to suffer. Chains and tribulations were awaiting him in Jerusalem. Yet, he said he had to go because the Spirit was compelling him to go to Jerusalem. How many of us would have been willing to go to Jerusalem if we knew what was awaiting us? How was Paul able to face adversity? He had a right view of God and a right view of himself. For Paul, he knew that he was nothing more than a vessel that God had and would continue using for His glory and His purpose. Paul knew that one day his life was going to end. He resolved to serve the Lord with joy, and to be obedient to the Lord’s will, even if that meant bringing about his own death. Paul had a right view of God, in that Jesus was Lord for Paul. Jesus called the shots of Paul’s life. Jesus told Paul where to go, and what to do. We can have the same joy that Paul had when we know that no matter what happens in our life, God is in control and we are His child. I think about this nation right now, and so many people living in fear either from a virus or from the outcome of the election. This is not what God has for His children. I realize that many who are in fear, are in fear because they aren’t saved. My prayer for them is that God in His grace will call them and save them by His grace. But for a Christian, we should never fear. In fact, “do not be afraid” is the most often repeated command in all of Scripture (365 times). Because God is still on His throne, because He is still in control, and because He has saved us by His grace; we know how the story will end, we will fall at His feet, worship Him, and be with Him for all eternity. Nothing can change this outcome for a child of God! That is why Paul could have joy despite knowing the difficulties he was about to face.
The apostle Paul committed himself to finishing his race well. He was going to fix His eyes on Jesus, and he was going to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit no matter what. Dear Christians, will we make that same commitment? Will we hold on loosely to our own life while clinging tightly to God, the One who gave us something that this world can never give us, nor can it take away? A.W. Tozer said it well when he said, “a scared world needs a fearless church.” It’s time to run our race well, no matter where it leads us for the glory of God and His kingdom.
By His grace and for His glory,