3 Steps To Finish Strong

So I started off the month of January with a bang! I was refreshed from having 9 out of 14 days off over the holidays and it showed in my blogging! I posted something 19 straight days to start the month and I was rolling! I had my highest viewed month by day 15 and I was feeling awesome!

Then life hit me. I got tired from work, church and regular family duties. I was a little stressed over different things going on. The last 12 days of the month I only posted 3 times. I felt bad but I was mentally tired.

I was thinking about this and how the old saying goes, “It isn’t about how you start, it’s about how you finish.” I started the month strong and running and then I finished it weak and crawling.

I think of Paul, probably one of the greatest Christians to walk the face of the earth, had a strong finish! His beginning wasn’t strong, he killed Christians for a living. He also described himself as the chiefest of sinners. I believe that when Paul went by Saul, he was the best at doing what he did, killing Christians. He always got his man. He worked hard at his craft and was diligent in what he did. When he got saved, he did the same exact thing he did when he was unsaved. Instead of killing Christians though, he led them to Christ. He always went where the Lord told him to go. Paul was diligent and hardworking in his service towards Christ.

Can you imagine what Paul could have accomplished if his whole life was spent serving Christ? How much he could have done if he didn’t waste those years killing Christians.

Yes, I believe that how you finish is important, but how you start is important also.

These kids that grow up in a Christian home, attend a Christian school, go to church throughout their childhood, these are the kids that have a strong start, yet we see many fail and fall out during the race of life. Their start in life was strong, but somewhere along the track of life, they fell down or fell out of the race.

If you feel like you have reached a point in the race of life where you don’t know how to finish and you are ready to give up, don’t! You can do it! You can make it through this hard time! Just don’t stop going forward in life!

Paul gives us his plan to finish strong in II Timothy 4:5-7.

“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I kept the faith:”

In his last letter of instruction to Timothy, he left him some final thoughts on how to finish strong, like he had.

Look ahead! “But watch thou in all things…” You will never finish the race if you aren’t paying attention to where you should go. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. If we aren’t paying attention, if we aren’t looking ahead, if we aren’t watching out for obstacles, we will not finish the face, we will not finish strong. Look ahead to the goal! Look ahead to the will of God for your life. Don’t let others distract you from finishing. Don’t let the world detour you from finishing! Don’t let Satan defeat you from finishing! “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Where you look determines your direction! Make sure you continually and constantly are looking ahead and you will have an opportunity to finish strong!

Lean on Christ! “…endure afflictions,…” In this race of life, we will be faced with afflictions, trials, and hardships. There will be times that we just want to quit and give up. It is in these moments that we learn to endure and the best way to endure tough times in the Christian life is lean on Christ! “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalms 23:4 No matter the situation, we have nothing to fear in life if we are walking with Christ. He is there for us to lean on and He will comfort us. You will never make it in the race of life if you try to go at it all by yourself, you need to lean on Christ, especially when you are going through the hard times!

Labour fervently! “…do the work of an evangelist,…” When I think of the ministry of evangelist, I think of someone who is constantly traveling, preaching, soul winning and laboring wherever they go. We not be in the actual position of an evangelist, but we can be an evangelist in our own town. Wherever we go we can labor, we can tell others about the Gospel. Being a witness for Christ is the best job that anyone of us can do. As we run this race of life, we need to tell others about the Good News of Jesus Christ and get them to join the race with us! If you are focused on being a witness, you won’t be focused on the troubles and trials that come along and you won’t be tempted to quit!

He ends vs. 5 with the statement, “…make full proof of thy ministry.” That phrase ‘full proof’ is interesting. Full means not lacking or omitting anything, complete. Proof means the cogency of evidence that compels acceptance by the mind of a truth or a fact; the process or an instance of establishing the validity of a statement especially by derivation from other statements in accordance with principles of reasoning. To put it simply, full proof means to be complete in what you know. We need to be full proof in our ministry. We need to know WHO we serve, WHY we serve and WHERE to serve. If we are complete in our knowledge about serving Christ, because He saved us, wherever we are, we will be well on our way to finishing strong.

My goal this month is to not only start strong, but to finish strong. I already know I am going to have some long days but if look ahead at my goals, lean on Christ when it gets tough, and continue to labour fervently! I know I can finish this month strong!

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Withstand In The Evil Day

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Ephesians 6:10-13

It is time for Christians to wake up and realize we are living in an evil day! We are living in a time when God is being thrown out of the courthouse, the schoolhouse, the family’s house and even the church house! We are living in a day when sin is so prevalent it is normal and accepted! We are living in an evil day where righteousness is frowned upon and wickedness is uplifted!

What happened to our will, our desire, our passion to stand and fight! Do you realize that your life and your child’s life is at stake here? Satan is doing everything he can to destroy Christianity and things of Christ, and we are sitting here allowing him to!

It is time we realize that we are in the fight of our lives! It is time that we stand up for what is right! Stand against what is wrong! Stop letting the world and the devil control what we do and say!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about doubling down on our Christianity. About becoming more zealous and fervent for what is right! The worldly crowd is getting louder and louder while we get quieter and quieter. I was thinking about this, are they getting louder because more and more ‘Christians’ are joining them? Just a thought…

I want to take one phrase from the verses above, “…that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,…” Withstand means to stand up against:oppose with firm determination, to resist successfully; to be proof against: resist the effect of; to stop or obstruct the course of. We need to withstand in the evil day. We need to oppose, we need to resist, we need to stop and obstruct wickedness.

The preparation to withstand. To be able to withstand, we have to be prepared. How do we prepare? By putting on the armour of God. We see that God gives us the armour to put on in the following verses. This armour protects everything we need from head to foot. If we forget even one item, we are at risk of being defeated by Satan. He starts with the girdle of truth, that is why it is important to be honest in everything we say and do! He then goes to the breastplate of righteousness. The piece that covers your heart. We need to have a righteous and clean heart before God. The we are told to cover our feet with the gospel of peace, be a soul winner, be a witness for Christ. Then we are to take the shield of faith, realizing that we are not in this fight alone. Then the helmet of salvation. It doesn’t matter if you know everything about Christianity but don’t know the Christ that saves you. Without salvation, you will never be able to fight Satan like you should. Then we are to ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. It is important to read, study, meditate and memorize the Bible as it is our only weapon of attack. Be prepared everyday to withstand the wiles of the devil, to be able to withstand Satan’s attack!

The performance of withstanding. When should we withstand? Easy, whenever wrong presents itself. We live in such a day when we are worried about who we will offend. Have we thought about how much we are offending God when we give into the world and into the ways of Satan. We have too many Christians sitting on the sidelines watching the fight, we need more Christians to stand up for Christ and get in the fight. The Christian life isn’t no tea party, it is a battle, it is a fight! Let’s not give into the Satan and his wicked ways! Let’s learn to say no! Let’s learn to turn from wickedness! Let’s learn to be bold about our faith and what is right according to the Bible. Whether you are standing alone or with a crowd, as long as you are standing for right, continue to stand!

The progression of withstanding. I was thinking about when would be the time to stop standing, and there is no time to stop standing. When we think we can stand no more, stand. When we think the fight is won, stand. Too often, we quit too soon, we give up, we stop…we have to keep pressing forward and continue fighting! We have to continue to progress in our fight, if we stop, we will regress. It is going to be tough. It is going to be hard, but that is when we need to rely on God to carry us through! We cannot fight the battle against Satan and the wickedness of this world without Christ! We need to progress and go forward in our walk with God, in our service for Christ! We need to withstand no matter what!

Be one who withstands in the evil day! Don’t give in or give up!

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It is my dream one day to be creating content full-time, inspiring and motivating people to be faithful through different streams of media.

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Finish Strong

I am a huge sports fan. I love it all…football, basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer, golf, and so on. I do pretty good at keeping up with whatever is going on in the sports world. I think for me, I enjoy the competitiveness that is found in sports, I enjoy the talent and athleticism of the athletes. I just enjoy sports!

Yesterday, a basketball player that I enjoyed watching, Manu Ginobili, retired. Now, I am in no way a San Antonio Spurs fan, but I enjoy the fundamental ball playing of that team. As Ginobili became older in his career, he started being the 6th man off the bench for the Spurs. He even won the NBA 6th Man of the Year Award in 2008. He had a career of many honors, both here in the US and also in different leagues around the world.

The 6th Man Award is what draws my attention though. This award isn’t given to someone who starts every game, but usually someone who is on the floor at the end of every game. This award epitomizes the phrase, “It isn’t how you start, but how you finish.” Ginobili embodied his role on the team and in doing so, he helped make his team one of the best teams in the NBA over the last 20 years.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” II Timothy 4:7

Paul is on his deathbed and he writes this verse to Timothy, telling him that he fought a good fight. Paul said he finished his course. He then stated that he kept the faith.

But we all know that Paul didn’t start out fighting the good fight. Paul didn’t even start on the right course. He wasn’t keeping the faith at the beginning.

Paul did not start right!!

But Paul finished right!!

Christian, it isn’t about how you start (although a good start is helpful), it is all about how you finish. Far too many Christians, start right and finish wrong. Too many Christians give up, quit, drop out and fall by the wayside. They are drawn away by their flesh, the world and the devil. Too many Christians don’t make it because they don’t stick it out and finish.

We have no excuse not to fight the good fight! We have no excuse not to finish the course! We have no excuse not to keep the faith! Paul, when he started was so wicked that he had a different name of Saul. He killed and persecuted Christians, he fought against the faith of the believers! If he could finish and finish well, then no matter what you have done or been through is not an excuse!

How did Paul make it to the end where he was able to say he fought a good fight and that he finished the course? He tells us in II Timothy 4:5, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

  1. Watch out for the enemy! We have to watch in all things. We have to be on the lookout for the enemy! Satan will try to get us to quit serving any way he can. It may be a good job that keeps you out of the ministry. It may be a spouse that will hinder your service for God. Satan uses all kinds of things and people to keep you from finishing the race, from finishing well.
  2. Weather the storms! Storms will come and go in our life. Storms will come that we have no control over, and then other storms will come that our decisions helped create. What we do in the storms will determine our outcome in life, whether we finish the race strong or end up quitting and doing nothing for God. Paul went through storm after storm, he endured affliction time and time again! But he kept going forward for Christ!
  3. Work, work, work! Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist.The work of an evangelist is that of soul-winning. You look at the definition of the evangelist and the first thing that shows up is ‘a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith.’ When you are busy working, telling people of about the Gospel, it will help you keep your focus on finishing the race strong!

Be like a 6th man in the NBA, someone who doesn’t start the game but they are there to finish the game. Paul, didn’t start his life as a Christian, but he finished his life as on of the greatest Christians in the Bible.

It isn’t how you start that is remembered, it is how you finish. So finish strong! Finish well!

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Thanks for your continued reading! If you would like to support us but love shopping on Amazon more, just click on this link to shop! When you do, we get a little kickback, it is just something that helps keep this blog going!!

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If Amazon isn’t your thing, then head over to our t-shirt shop to get your very own Counted Faithful t-shirt!

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Listen to the Counted Faithful Podcast!! You can also support us by supporting the podcast!!

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