Series: “Traveling Mercies: On the Road with Paul" • Pastor David R. Stokes
Today: “How to Finish Your Race with Joy”
As every sports fan knows, it’s how you finish the game that matters most. You can score three goals in the first period on the ice, but still lose in double-overtime. Redskins fans know that a lead at half-time means nothing. And don’t get me started on the NATS bullpen. When they play away games, you can almost hear fans of other teams chanting, “Dusty, go to the bullpen. Go to the bullpen.”
So it is with life—especially the life lived for God. The Apostle Paul once asked some people who had wandered from the faith, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Galatians 5:7, KJV)
They had started out fine and things went well for a while, but then the wheels came off. Just as what a team does later in the game can mean the difference between winning and losing, so how we handle the challenges that come later in our Christian experience determine how we finish our race.
Paul wanted to finish his race with joy—he said so about ten years before he was martyred. And we know from his last words years later that he, in fact, did finish his course faithfully. Yesterday we examined how we can finish our journeys with Jesus filled with that same joy—no matter how many years we have behind or in front of us. As they say in golf, “It’s not how you drive; it’s how you arrive.” Indeed.
What are the kinds of temptations that seem to be so powerful after many years of serving the Lord?
How do small compromises grow into major catastrophes?
How do I keep growing when the seasons of life change?