Finish Strong

While it wasn’t tied to a traditional semester term like those ending around the country right now, I finished up my last dissertation student when she successfully defended her research on Tuesday evening. That means I’m officially retired from being a faculty member. I had been finished everywhere else for about two years.

I was also talking to my kids today about the mere two weeks of school left until summer. I don’t know who is more excited for summer: me or the kids.

As I think about these two areas, it reminds me just how important it is to finish strong. Finishing the task at hand in good form readies you for the next item in the larger race of life.

In II Timothy 4:7-8, Paul writes:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

We are all preparing for that final day of this life. Some of us are preparing well and finishing strong as Paul did. Others are not tracking well and others still are setting their sites on hell. We need to remember that our ultimate finish line is heaven and we need to practice finishing strong in all of our other activities so that we can finish strong for that big finish line.

The great thing is that we don’t even have to finish strong in our own strength. We have the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, our brother, and God, our Father to give us the grace to finish strong. Even when we struggle to finish strong, God provides us with a way to finish strong in His strength:

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (II Corinthians 12:10)

It’s not in our power that we should be trying to finish strong but in His.

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