Monday Morning Encouragement -- Finishing the Race

The Bible often compares the Christian's life to that of running a race. It's a great analogy when you really think about it. Just as an athlete must train in preparation for a race, so we must train for our spiritual race. I've watched televised races where a runner trips and falls. But does he or she quit? No,not as long as they are able they get back up on their feet and finish the race. Even if they continue limping to the finish line and coming in last they finish the race.

In his second letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul writes this:

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

Paul faced unbelievable persecution and trials in his service to Christ. He was whipped five times, beaten with rods three times, stoned once, shipwrecked three times and spent a night and a day in the open sea. Yet with his eyes fixed firmly on His Lord and Savior, he continued on, looking forward to the day when he would stand before Jesus and receive his "crown of righteousness."

I have never been called to suffer as Paul suffered, so I really can't imagine the kind of pressure he endured. However, I know the Source of His strength and ability to endure suffering. I find it in the last chapter of that same letter to Timothy:

"...the Lord stood by me and strengthened me. . ." (2 Timothy 4:17)

Paul's strength and ability to get back up and continue the race set before him came from Jesus. The Lord was right there with him and he met Paul in his deepest need.

Paul had witnessed this again and again in his life, and in this final letter written from a Roman prison as he awaits execution, he confidently pens these words:

"The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." (2 Timothy 4:18)

Paul isn't speaking of rescue from physical death. He knows he's going to die at the hands of the Romans. However, he also knows that his eternal life is securely in Jesus' hands and He will bring Paul into His heavenly kingdom

I wrote earlier that just as an athlete trains for a race, so we must train for our spiritual race. This training comes through study of God's word, the Bible. The Lord speaks to us through every verse, and prepares us for life's circumstances. When we are faced with difficulties, we can recall what He tells us in scripture and allow those words to encourage us. Hebrews tells us that God's word is "living and active" and "sharper than any double-edged sword." 

Prayer is also necessary to our training. Prayer is simply talking to God and asking Him for His strength and wisdom to pursue the Christian life -- to run and finish the race. Jesus says, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7) The key here is having a personal relationship with Jesus and wanting what He wants. says this about prayer:

Among the most important prayers in the life of a Christian are “Teach me to love you above all else” and “Cause me to want what you want.” When we truly desire God, when we are passionate to see His will accomplished in this world, and when we ask for what brings Him glory, He is eager to give us anything we ask. Sometimes the things that glorify God are pleasant—a marriage or a child. Sometimes they are difficult for us—a failure that humbles us or a physical weakness that makes us more dependent upon God (see 2 Corinthians 12:7). But, when we pray within His will, in the authority of Jesus, persistently, unselfishly, and in faith, we will receive what we need."

Today's music video Well Done by The Afters is another favorite of mine. I pray you'll find encouragement in the words and images. Let's finish the race to hear the words of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

I love you, I'm thinking of you, and I'm praying for you.


  1. thank you for this message today
    I really needed to hear this and keep on praying

  2. Those are the words I'm waiting to hear! "Well done, good and faithful servent," The race does seem to grow more and more wearying day by day, but we persevere.

  3. Thank you,Nancy, once again for a lovely post that makes me think and so great in its timing. Last week being Easter, and yesterday, thinking about it again, as it was the day my mother would've celebrated it was the Orthodox date. Hugs to you!

  4. Such a great message Nancy... that song is beautiful. Those are the words I hope my husband heard when he went to meet his Lord. Brought tears of course! Hugs to you on this Monday! Marilyn

  5. I always love the music you chose to go along with your post writings. I am a big believer in prayer and I have witnessed many times the power of prayer in my own life. You are right we do not need God to save us from the painful things in life but just give us the strength to move through them. Beautiful post. xoxo Kris
    xoxo Kris

  6. Yes, and Amen. One of the things our pastor said on Sunday that I'm pondering is "The truth of God's Word is always worth wrestling with until we are transformed by it's truth." Have a wonderful last week of April, Nancy!

  7. I agree with Betsy, I long to hear these words from my wonderful Savior "Well done, good and faithful servant." The race is before us each and every day and there is no time for a stumble that isn't followed by getting right back up. It doesn't matter if we are first or last as long as we keep our eyes on our Lord as the prize and finish our race. The best part is that we never have to run it alone :)
    Thank you again for an encouraging boost . . . you build us up in love and provide nourishment with your posts.


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