So the year is coming to a close, and as we are wont to do we consider the events of the year and judge it: do we want more of the same, or do we make resolutions for changes we intend to make in the year to come?
There is a Chinese proverb that roughly translates “you have to look back to see where you are going.” This makes sense to me because when I was little I used to borrow a neighbor’s rowboat and row around the small lake where we had a cabin. You direct a rowboat by looking back at where you’ve been while pointing the boat where you want to go. Life is a lot like that. To know where we are going we look back at where we have been while pointing ourselves at where we want to go.
The difficulty for me is that when I am done I just want to move on. I have my new objectives established, my course is plotted, and I am on my way. I don’t really want to spend time looking back, and often I move forward with where I want to go, not necessarily taking God’s direction into account. This is not a formula for “finishing the race well.”
The Apostle Paul provides some great direction for finishing the race well.
Paul bids farewell to the Ephesian elders. Knowing that he will not see them again, he speaks to them not as an evangelist, or as a defender of the Faith, but as a pastor. Despite the great hardships and death that lies before him, he assures the elders it is all part of God’s great plan.
And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:22-24)
1) Paul is led by the Spirit. Compelled by the Spirit.
2) Paul responds in faith. I am going to Jerusalem.
3) Paul is undeterred. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.
4) Paul is completely submitted to God’s plan. I consider my life worth nothing to me.
5) Paul knows and is determined to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
Man makes his plans but God directs our steps. He is in the business of changing our plans to His plans.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. (Prov. 16:9)
We need to be led by the Spirit, respond to God in faith, and be undeterred by the trials and tribulations that lie before us. When our plans go off course it may be God directing us back to His path and purpose for our lives! As we look back at this year and contemplate the year ahead let us consider Paul’s example and the 5 requirements to “finish the race well!”
Join the Conversation:
As always questions and comments are welcome. Of these 5 requirements which one presents the most difficulty for you?
Category: Personal Development | Priorities