Finishing the Race

Runners not only think how they’re going to start the race but also how they’re going to finish.

Paul tells us to compete like an athlete, to run in order to win the prize. Who is the main competitor in your marriage? I will name two that I have.

One is myself. I have the DNA of the first Adam, who was in a perfect garden but still failed in his leadership. I lean daily on the power and guidance of the life giving spirit of the last Adam. “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.” (1 Cor.15:45)

Two, is the “lazy friendly” spiritual culture that pervades much of the body of Christ. The western church has by and large been seduced by a casual Christianity that has ceased to be alarmed by its compromise and lack of zeal. I for one heartily agree that life is to be enjoyed; I’m married to a woman who is fun to live with. This is a part of the fruit of marriage, but it’s not the solid trunk and root system. This comes only from above.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:6-7) These words were uttered by the Apostle Paul in the latter years of his life, but it’s not simply a passage for old folks or those nearing death. I believe that this passage can serve well as a capstone of how you’ve lived your life over the decades; and that story is being written today.

This is the best retirement nest egg – contented reflection – looking back over decades of choices, fighting, finishing, and holding firm, a lifetime of being poured out as an offering before God. In a nutshell: seeking to pour out my life daily so I can look back on a life poured out. Husbands and wives who find common ground here, will go the distance!

Jesus described it as “laying up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Divided allegiance, the attempt to serve two masters, results in both treasure and heart remaining earthbound and exposed to loss.

My goal for my marriage is to finish well. This testimony of the Apostle Paul in his later years is not simply a deathbed utterance or only reserved for the old saint. It’s a capstone of how he lived his life over the decades. The words “have fought” speak of a history. Husband and wife: you are writing yours now. Fight now; stay in the race; keep the faith.

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

Every marriage in God’s kingdom is meant for the winner’s circle.