I am very proficient at not getting things done. I have a number of video games at which I’m at something like 90% completion. I have two nearly finished novels sitting on my hard drive. I have a couple video projects for school lying around that are about two-thirds done, and I have more unfinished blog posts than I can count sitting in my MarsEdit drafts. I am an expert at almost finishing what I begin. I hope I fare better with my Christian journey.
Hebrews 12:1-2 give us some instructions on beginning that journey:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Too often, I defeat myself at the beginning of some task because I refuse to clear my proverbial plate of other distractions. I want to get this assignment done, but, in the meantime, I’m trying to juggle other deadlines. I know that if I would just lay aside everything else, and focus on my work one task at a time, I’d be getting somewhere. Likewise, we can’t run a spiritual race while being pulled in other directions by the world. We have to begin by setting aside all else and focusing solely on the cross.
Paul describes the process of this journey in Philippians 3:12-14:
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes I think I’ve done all I need to do on a project only to find out I’m far from finished. Then I just want to give up. I thought I was done, but I’m not. I thought I had planned well, but I hadn’t. Our Christian journey is a lifelong commitment, and we have to undertake it knowing we will never finish it during our lifetime. There is no point at which I’ve arrived at perfection. We have to be willing to continuously press toward the goal of spiritual completion and the promise of a rest to come.
Finally, Paul expresses the peace of knowing he is close to finishing his journey in II Timothy 4:7-8:
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.
I’m quite terrible at beginning what I started, but our Christian walk is worth seeing through to the end. It’s the greatest undertaking we will ever endure, and it offers greater rewards than anything we can pursue in this world. It’s a challenging journey, but it’s far from impossible. We just have to lay aside distraction, keep our eyes on the prize, and endure to the end. We are promised so much in the next life, and the efforts we put forward and the sacrifices we make in this life will seem insignificant in comparison to an eternity with the Father. Let’s help each other finish this race we’ve begun.