I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Super Bowl 54 was yet another reminder about the importance of finishing strong. With just 6:49 minutes left, Patrick Mahomes lead the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl victory in 50 years. Whereas the San Francisco 49ers and their fans were probably sensing victory as their team was leading for more than seventy percent of the game, their joy quickly turned to dismay as they watched Mahomes engineer a historic comeback on his way to becoming the MVP of Super Bowl LIV.
In today’s text, Paul is writing his obituary. In it, he reminds his son in the Ministry, Timothy, that he fought the good fight. He finished the race and kept the faith. The point here is that it is not the way one starts, but it is the way we finish.
A strong beginning is not uncommon. There is usually enthusiasm and passion at the beginning of any undertaken. Most people are fully committed at the beginning of any movement. However, passion, commitment, and enthusiasm can quickly wane the longer people have to struggle to achieve the ultimate goal.
No one is celebrated for a strong beginning. The annals of history do not chronicle the achievements of strong beginners. It is the people who finish strong who receive our highest esteem.
In truth, it really does not matter how one starts. A lackluster beginning does not define our legacy. Whether our beginning was mistake-prone, or apathetic, or uninspiring, we have to keep fighting the good fight and finish the race. We should not oallow our unimpressive beginning to define our ending.
Moses started as the Prince of Egypt and a member of the oppressive Egyptian establishment. Yet he finished as a liberator and a prophet whose relationship with God was second to none. Paul started as a persecutor of Christians and an enemy of the Church. However, he finished as a missionary, pastor, church builder, and the most significant Christian theologian that ever existed.
Allow me to encourage you to stop stressing about your beginning. Do not waste your energy, feeling ashamed about your beginning. We are to learn from our beginning so we can apply those lessons to finish strong. Our beginning should not define our lives. Nor are we destined to fail because of the way we started in life.
Whatever mistakes we made, in the beginning, can be forgiven so we can finish strong. God is not in the business of condemnation. He runs a restoration enterprise. Thus we read in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”
Indeed, God will not condemn us for the way we started. Everyone started as a sinner. But thanks be to God; we will all finish as redeemed Saints and joint-heirs of the kingdom of God.
To my brothers and sisters that are struggling with an addiction, or living in shame of their past, or are embarrassed to share their testimony because of their past, can I remind you that the race is not for the swift or the strong, but for those who last to the end? So keep the faith and finish the race that God has set before you.
All of our past mistakes and failures have been erased through Christ Jesus. We are made new by faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, our beginning cannot and should not prevent us from living an abundant life. If the Chiefs can come back from ten points down with 6:49 minutes left in the game, you can come back from whatever setback you had. We have to keep fighting and keep trusting God. We already have the victory. We just have to keep the faith.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I pray for every brother or sister who is thinking about giving up. Please help them to keep the faith so they can finish the Christian race strong.