Finish The Race
It’s been two weeks since I wrote in my journal. It’s been two months since I’ve written a blog post – and I love writing, especially for God’s glory. When I write for His glory, it’s a win-win. But I never want to move ahead of Him in anything I do, so He put a pause on everything for a while. By God’s grace, I managed to remain in the Word and in prayer in the midst of chaos, but it wasn’t easy. Yet and still, I praise God for what He has been doing in the midst of it all, and He’s been doing so much…so much that I needed to sit still to catch it all and take everything in. He has been working on me – and I’m grateful. He wanted me to use this time to really focus on Him and cling to Him. He wanted me to understand just how much I need Him – still. And if I was truly committed to growing deeper in love and in fellowship with Him as I vocalized, there were some things that I needed to work on and root out. Oftentimes, we love to ask and pray to God for more of Him without giving more of ourselves. But we can’t go higher in God and in Christ while we remain the same. It doesn’t work like that. Sanctification doesn’t work like that. It’s a joint effort. He will require more of us. He will show us things. And we must be willing to change and sacrifice for Him.
After a short break from writing, I wrote in my journal again this week. I wrote to God thanking Him for His love, grace, and mercy. I wrote to Him thanking Him for His Son. I wrote to Him thanking Him for the Holy Spirit’s conviction. I wrote to Him thanking Him for the tough truths He has revealed to me these past several weeks so that I can grow in Him. I wrote to Him thanking Him for the new covenant, and the precious truth that we are not justified by our works, but by our faith in Jesus Christ alone. This consoles me, because I will never be good enough apart from Him – no matter how hard I try. This comforts me on the days when I feel like I have failed Him. He alone is responsible for everything good in me. His mercy endures forever. And I cannot earn my salvation. But if I try, He will allow me to…but my payment will never be enough. I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. He has washed away all of my sins and has cleansed me. I choose His love and grace over trying to pay for a debt that I will spend my entire life trying to pay…He’s already paid it all. He finished the work. On the cross.
God has used this time of increased devotion to remind me once again what true faith is all about. It is not about what I do in Christ or for Christ, because my works will never be enough. It is about who I am in Christ. What matters most is my relationship with my Savior, not my good deeds. And my relationship with Him is what motivates me to good works by His strength, and not my own. Our faith in Him and our love for Him enables us to bear fruit. He is the Vine, and we are the branches. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5)….need I say more?! 🙂
Whenever I feel myself slipping back into legalism…the old me, He always has His way of warning me and showing me my sin and my faults. Whenever I feel myself slipping back into the yoke of bondage, I look at verses like Galatians 5:1, and I thank the Lord God for His grace, for the Holy Spirit, and the freedom and power to overcome. He is strength when I am weak. Whenever I feel myself slipping back into my own righteousness and strength (which isn’t righteousness or strength at all), I am reminded that love fulfills the law. So I rest and abide in love. His love.
When times get tough, His love is what motivates me to finish the race. There is no way that I could ever endure and finish it on my own. I have tried to do it on my own and have failed. The Gospel message is for me just as much as it is for everyone else. I need Him. And it just so happened that as I picked up my pen and wrote in my journal this week, I ended my journal entry with the words: “Grace. Grace. Grace. I love you Father. I will finish. No matter what.” When I wrote it, I was referring to a particular task that I was committed to completing. But as I sit here and ponder on it, I realize that my words extend way beyond this particular task. I wrote those words with conviction. There was a much deeper meaning. I was essentially saying to Him: “I will finish this race no matter what. I will persevere in this life. I will endure. I will press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. I will not give up when it gets tough. I will not waver or cower when you call for me to stand firm. I will display a radical faith at all costs and under any circumstance. I will be a devoted follower and a committed ambassador of the Gospel. And I will do it only through you.”
I heard somewhere recently: If you haven’t been mocked for your faith, if you haven’t been persecuted for your faith, it isn’t radical enough. I would say that there is some truth to this. Our faith will be tested at some point if it hasn’t been already. And it will happen over and over again. I’ve faced this recently. But what I’ve experienced is nothing compared to what our brothers and sisters are facing at this very moment around the world. Our brothers and sisters are being slaughtered, beheaded, burned alive, etc. for the Christian faith. Yes. I’ve been mocked. I’ve been laughed at. I’ve been called crazy. I’ve been taunted for not backing down from what I believe the Lord wanted me to pursue. For continuing to speak for the glory of the Lord without compromise. And it’s tough. But what will we do when it really gets real? Will our faith still stand? The enemy tried to attack my mind and my faith recently in a godly pursuit to the point where I said: “Are you sure you want me to do this, God? Am I crazy?” Fear and doubt crept in. But not for long. I know who my Father is. And He that is in me is greater than he or anything that is in this world. So I will fight. I will finish this race.
His love is worth fighting for. So I’ll fight for Him. I’ll suit up for battle. I’ll run the race. I’ll stay vigilant. I’ll remain steadfast. I pray you will too. Press in, love. Cling to the cross. Stay in your Word. Pray without ceasing. Do the work He has called you to do. Endure until the end…because it’s worth it. He’s worth it. Eternity is worth it.
Love and blessings,
A few things:
To those who follow my blog regularly (subscribed or unsubscribed), thanks for being patient with me! I needed some time with God (which we all need every once in a while), and I am back to blogging again! Also, God has me focusing a lot on love…and you’ll see why in my next post!
Secondly: I am beginning a study based on the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan accompanied with the interactive study workbook entitled Living Crazy Love. If you’ve never read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan (or even if you have before), I invite you to join me! Let’s stay connected and communicate about what we are learning! I’ll blog about it as well. You can reach me through loveisalifestyle.org on my contact page or at firstname.lastname@example.org to keep me updated or for questions! Send us your email to receive future blog and ministry updates directly to your inbox. Blessings to you!