Are You Growing Weary?
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.”
2 Tim. 4:7
Have you noticed that most good coaches urge their players to “finish strong” or “finish off the play”? Or that players who ultimately find their way to the Pro Bowl know how to finish strong? They’re committed and focused on doing what is required right up until the whistle blows. All Pro receiver Jerry Rice was such a player. He set the standard for future wide outs. He holds countless records and was a regular participant in many Pro Bowls. To watch him practice was to watch a master craftsman at work. When Jerry ran a pattern, he didn’t quit until he stood in the end zone. While most receivers break-off their pattern when the coachblows the whistle, Jerry ran until he exhausted the defensive back or hit the goal line. Then he would hustle back to the huddle or sideline for the next mission.
Jerry was determined to finish each play strong. The additional yardage he put on during the course of a two-a-day training camp strengthened his legs, improved his stamina, and helped develop an attitude of commitment. He consistently led the league in RAC (Run After Catch) yardage, because he was committed to following through after he caught the ball and received the first hit. Whether playing for a Super Bowl ring or the final game of an unsuccessful season, Jerry’s philosophy was the same; he planned on finishing strong!
Those are wise words not only for a great athlete, but also for all of us with a weary heart. Specifically, we need to keep focused upon the victory that is ours through a personal and trusting relationship with Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned numerous times and had difficulties that would have worn down most of us. His strong determination kept him focused and allowed the struggling disciple to pen these words provided by the Holy Spirit. “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Philip. 3:8.
No amount of punishment, pressure, doubt, fear, or disbelief could take away the victorious moments that would ultimately become steps to success. Paul knew that if he focused upon God instead of his circumstances he would succeed in being an effective witness for Jesus. How else could a man who had been beaten, left for dead, abandoned, and imprisoned write, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philip. 4:6-7.
Finishing strong is as simple as a good place-kicker kicking an extra point. Though not easy, Paul had a fixed focus on his loving, gracious Savior. The attitude of his heart was set on God. He never forgot the lessons learned along that road to Damascus where he felt God’s unconditional love. He was committed to the course laid out before him by God—His target identified and purpose resolute.
The Power of Truth:
- “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Heb. 12:3
- “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” 2 Tim. 3:13
Suggestion for Prayer:
Ask God to help you finish strong, give you the peace that “transcends all understanding”, and the perspective needed to focus on Christ and our eternal reward.