“Let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated on the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
To finish well means to follow Christ to the very end of our lives, stepping into His calling, finishing His assignments for us and hearing His “well done, good and faithful servant.” Finishing well is not an event. It is a process. It doesn’t just happen.
Sadly, too many begin well but finish poorly. We see today many Christians who begin their work with a genuine call from God and a deep commitment to serve Him. They desired to give themselves fully for Christ and His kingdom, BUT along the way, pressures, pain, failures and disappointments have caused them to lose heart, turn away or give up.
Robert Clinton noted seven crucial characteristics for finishing well:
- Intimacy with Christ: Does your desire to know Christ exceed all other aspirations?
- Faithfulness in your personal spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fellowship, study, and worship.
- A Biblical perspective on life circumstances. Part of the purpose of our suffering and trials is to drive us to dependence on God alone.
- A teachable, responsive, humble and obedient spirit.
- A clear sense of personal purpose and calling
- Networks of meaningful relationships: Finding mentors, peers and mentees that challenge your life. To finish well we need the caring support of others in the body of Christ.
- Ongoing ministry investment in the life of others. Discovering and using our spiritual gifts through the Spirit’s power for the edification of others.
How will you finish well? Know that you are in a race tailored just for you, but you must pace yourself carefully. The Christian life is not a sprint. We must look to Jesus, as we cannot win the race on our own strength.
Lord God, I pray that You give me the grace and strength to “finish well,” and to run the race to the end for the sake of Your name and the building of Your Church. Help me to run and not grow weary. Help me to hunger to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” May I look to you for every need along this path that you have set before me for Your glory. Amen.
Dr. Deb Moncauskas is a Children and Family Pastor in San Diego, CA. She teaches at Bethel Seminary in the Master’s in Children and Family Ministry degree program.