Samson had a good beginning, a faulty interlude, but finished well. Abraham had a good beginning, and in spite of errors and hesitancy, finished well. The list is very long in the Bible of those who had a good beginning, stumbled and sometimes fell along the way, but crossed the finish line in fine fashion. The fact is that we all begin well when we put our faith wholly in Christ, for then the journey truly begins. It is equally a fact that, with the exception of maybe Enoch and Daniel, that we will miss the mark in many ways, stumble and fall. But the issue is crossing the finish line in a way well-pleasing to God. How can it be done?
Jesus taught us that we are to live a day at a time, and not to be anxious about tomorrow. Paul wrote concerning “yesterday,” that he “forgot” those things which were behind, and was leaning toward that which was before him, though redeeming the time in the present. So, the past cannot be the dominating concern. The future is full of unknowns, except that which is according to the promises of God. So then, the question must be answered, “How am I to live in this day, this present moment, and use well the opportunity given to me?”
The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews (perhaps Paul) wrote that we must grasp that we are in a race, but a race that is not frenetic, but a pursuit of an objective that demands requisite training and discipline. He writes that we are to “lay aside every weight.”(Heb. 12:1) Peter compliments the thought by saying, “…casting all of your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”(1 Peter 5:7) Both men are saying the same thing, and it is an offshoot of what the Lord Jesus said, “…Be not anxious for your life…” (Matt. 6:25) If we are to run TODAY, we cannot be burdened with the “cares, weights…of life.” All must be laid aside, cast aside, in essence, put upon Christ’s shoulders to bear, and at His feet to be left. So, we begin today by “weightlessness…” and this is only possible as we are willing to deliberately give to the Lord these weights and cares.
Secondly, we are to “lay aside the sin that would so easily beset us…” In other words, we are to trust the Lord for cleansing, and to keep us clean…in things great and small. For if we would benefit from the sufficient grace, and abounding mercy of God, and the resources to run this race, then we must have a good conscience before God. It is by the blessed power, everpresent power by the Spirit, that we are enabled to run, and in a manner worthy of Christ.
Thirdly, we must understand that this race is not a frenetic “try” at attainment, but the steady, measured, patient overcoming endurance of the soul in a world where there is conflict, and spiritual opposition. The Lord Jesus was never in a hurry, and yet He was never late. He lived in the present moment by the grace of His Father. You will remember how he bent down to write in the sand after being assailed verbally by the Pharisees concerning the woman caught in adultery. What was He doing in that moment? Most certainly He was waiting upon His Father for the word that would be appropriate for the moment, and appropriate it was: “…Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Here He gives us an example of the deliberate pursuit of the glory of God in the present moment, and yet, it is so clear and simple.
In conclusion, we are called to live TODAY, and one day at a time. The weights and cares of life are to be laid at Jesus’ feet. If we are to run well, we need to look at Him. We cannot look at Him and at the need at the same time. We must run with a good conscience before God. And thirdly, we are to run with patient endurance…measured, balanced, living in the present moment…moment by moment with Christ.
May we trust Him, by His Spirit, to fill up this day with Himself. And may we trust Him to keep us filled, so that we may run well, and finish well.