How Do We Finish Strong? (2) By Babatunde Olugboji
2022 is about to bite the dust. And many of us cannot wait to usher in 2023. Maybe you’ve faced some disappointments. Maybe things haven’t gone the way you thought they would. You are done with the year. As we leave 2022 behind and prepare to run the race marked out for us next year, there are a few things to note. The Bible says since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrew 12:1).
To finish the 2022 race in a good place and get on the racetrack in good shape for 2023, endurance must be your watch word. God has set before each of us a race that is uniquely mapped out for us, and he wants us to run the race and finish it well. Running this race will involve effort and commitment. Passive people are not particularly effective when it comes to running this life race.
The word endurance is from the ancient Greek word ‘hupomone,’ which means steadfastness and constancy, the characteristic of a person who is not easily swerved from his or her deliberate purpose. This is the picture of a person who is not distracted by challenges and trials; a person who is patient, a person who perseveres. In Acts 20:24, Paul pictures himself as a runner who had a race to finish, and nothing would keep him from finishing the race with joy. To joyfully finish our race, we must endure.
Running a race is not just about showing up, but completing the race, and doing so strongly. Paul says I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). Have you ever wondered why some people start something and never finish it? Like starting a business and abandoning it? Or starting an academic course or training and walking away from it?
Here are a few reasons:
- Failure to even start the race: some people just talk, procrastinate, think, and then think some more, but wouldn’t go beyond thinking and talking.
- Some start the race with little preparation, without sharpening their weapon of warfare, which is the Word of God, and as a result may become tired in the middle of the race.
- Failure to start the race at the appropriate time would result in failure. The Bible reminds us to seek the Lord when He may be found (Isaiah 55:6), we do not have to be in crisis to seek God.
- Competing in the wrong event is a recipe for disaster. Can a sumo wrestler outsprint the likes of Usain Bolt at his prime?
- Falling or flailing during a race as a result of iniquities will cause delays.
- Self-doubt, self-limitation, and self-condemnation often lead to zero progress.
- Lack of focus, distraction.
Will you declare this week:
God, I shed the garment of lukewarmness, I will be proactive, and run my race passionately, single-mindedly, with zeal and vigor. I am not competing with anyone else; my focus will be on Jesus. Help me to be steadfast in my faith, resolute in my work with You, and unwavering in my devotion to the things of God as I run the race that has been marked out for me.
Lord, help me finish 2022 in a good place.
Have a great week and an excellent 2023.
Kingdom Dynamics, a weekly column written by Dr. Babatunde Olugboji, the President, Kingdom House, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, USA.
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