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  • Writer's pictureGracie Berney

Finishing Strong (Part I)

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith..." 2 Timothy 4:7

Image credit: Wix


Welcome to a brand new month!


I flipped my calendar the other day and could barely believe that it was October. Even though there were times earlier this year when things slowed down, just the realization that we are in the last quarter of the year is mind blowing for me. Its feels like just a few months ago we were all celebrating the new year and now we are all thinking the holidays are just around the corner.


Whether you'd like to end the year already or wish time would slow down, my question for you is: How are you going to finish this year?


About a month ago, I was challenged with reading the entire Bible in the last 100 days of 2020. Initially, I wasn't going to participate because I already had a year long reading plan and was keeping up. However, one of the things that ended up influencing my change of heart was the statement that followed the challenge. The person had mentioned, finishing 2020 stronger. This was intriguing because one of my personal goals this year is to be stronger and with that I accepted the challenge.


The last couple weeks have been an adjustment especially since the reading plan contains large portions of chapters to read daily, but surprisingly, the Lord has been helping as well as challenging my growth; and with that, I'd like to encourage and inspire you all with the next few posts this month.


Today's post is the first in a series I've titled "Finishing strong"


Have you ever watched or participated in a race where all the runners ran the same exact speed and all of them won at the same time? Chances are, you haven't and neither have I.


1Corinthians 9:24 states: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.


Even the Apostle Paul, knew that not everyone in the race is going to win; but his encouragement was to become the one person that does win.


In order to win, there are couple things that must happen.

  1. Preparation

A lot of the athletes we read or hear about are not made overnight. They'll tell you it took them years of practice before they got to the level they did. Preparation is sometimes just as important as the participation in the event.


Preparation is the step where you learn a lot about yourself. Your limits are tested and sometimes your breakthrough starts to come through.


Another thing about preparation is that it can sometimes be the hardest step. You know why? Because there are no crowds or people to cheer you on. A lot of times its just the athlete and their trainer. This is also the place where mistakes and mess ups are allowed to happen.


The first part of 2020 have felt like a preparation for a lot of us. Churches and church groups were forced to shut down due to the pandemic. There were no other Christian brothers/sisters around to keep cheering us on. For a lot of us, it was just us and Jesus [the personal trainer]😊


In those moments of prayer and personal growth, what you may or may not have known is that you were in the preparation stage. However, like any other event, you have to move past the preparation stage.


2. Showing up and Running like you want to win


You cannot run, much less win a race if you are not physically present.


Even though the pandemic is not completely over, a lot of Churches have been allowed to re-open. Sadly, a lot of Christians are still on break. Instead of having personal growth over the time things were shut down, they instead took a break from personal spiritual growth and are now struggling to get back in the swing of things.


In a race, as the runners approach the finish line, they have to give it all they got. This is not the time to slow down, take a break, pose for pictures or interviews... This is when things get very serious.


The same is true for the Christians life. As the year is coming to a close, what is your Christian race looking like? Are you slowing down, or picking up speed?


Paul tells us in 1Co 9:24 that there are several people that participate in a race, but most of the time, only one person wins the race and gets the prize. Are you that one that is running to win? Or are you content to just be a participant in the race? Or even yet, are you the one that is or about to fall out of the race?



Conclusion

Thankfully, we still have almost three months left before 2020 is a year of the past. This means there is still time to finish strong. Yes it may take some re-arranging of priorities, but success is still achievable.


Over the next few days, what are some areas in your life that could use preparation in order to pick up speed to finish this year strong?


For me, it was starting my Bible reading plan all over again; but it can be different for you. Perhaps it can be a fresh commitment to fast and pray more; or to volunteer at your local food pantry one day a week; or to be more involved in your Church or go somewhere else where you can grow more in Christ; or to help someone out that desperately needs it without asking or wanting anything in return.


As a team, I want to encourage us all to commit to finishing this year strong together. 💖


Quick Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for the reminder about the Christian race I'm currently on. Please forgive me for the lack of preparation, or desire to finish this year strong. I realize that 2020 may not have been all that I hoped or expected it to be; but I thank you for the opportunity to end it better than I've hoped. Please give me your strength to run the race that is set before me and to end this year stronger than I've ever been. In Jesus name. Amen.


Stay Blessed

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