When You're Ready to Throw in the Towel
I imagine you agree with me about this: how we finish is more important than how we begin. We find this idea affirmed in Scripture, for Ecclesiastes says:
Finishing is better than starting. -Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT
In the Christian life, the ultimate finish is to hear our Lord say to us at the end, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!” But what will it take to hear those remarkable words from the One who means everything to us?
To finish life well requires that we live life well. This requires we know how to never give up, no matter how challenging or discouraging our circumstances get. It means having a relentless spirit. When we falter or grow weary, Scripture urges us:
Lift up your tired hands, then, and strengthen your trembling knees! Keep walking on straight paths.… Guard against turning back from the grace of God. -Hebrews 12:12–13, 15 TEV
The effects of our perseverance go well beyond what we can perceive in the moment of our struggle. We need look no further than Scripture to find examples of what happens when people do (or do not) finish well.
Consider Solomon, son of David and the wisest, richest, most powerful man of his time. He achieved heights no human being for generations before or many afterward even came close to.
However, he faltered in the latter part of his reign. Because Solomon had many foreign wives who worshipped other gods, he more than likely experienced tremendous conflict over being single-minded in his allegiance and obedience to Jehovah. In order to keep peace, he did not remain loyal to Jehovah. He built altars for and even worshiped his favored wives’ false gods.
Solomon suffered greatly from his folly, but his children and grandchildren were affected even more profoundly. The kingdom that was entrusted to him in strength began to suffer. The nation was divided and eventually withered. Israel’s history would have been significantly different if Solomon had remained relentless.
Not every story ends so sadly. Let’s compare Solomon with John the Baptist. John was resolute and held fast to truth, valiantly living and proclaiming it. Like Solomon, he was faced with adversity, but John’s potential consequences were far worse—it wasn’t a wife but the king of Judea who didn’t embrace the truth John proclaimed. Solomon faced a conflicted household, but John faced jail, torture, and possibly even death. In the face of such cruel and extreme consequences, John remained immovable in his stance for truth, both in how he lived and in the message he proclaimed. He finished well!
Like these men, you and I will face adversity in our journey of faith. It’s easy to grow weary, to think it’s okay to stop persevering, give in, and drift with the prevailing currents of the world around us. But the only way for us to finish strong is to be relentless in our faith. In doing so we become something to be reckoned with—a genuine threat to the kingdom of darkness.
Are you facing off with the temptation to give in today? Is there a situation in your life that seems too hard to endure? I encourage you to pray:
Heavenly Father, I thank You that You never gave up on me. You were relentless in Your pursuit of me! As Your child, I want to be like You. I believe that You give me everything I need to persevere and overcome the difficulties I face. Teach me to rely on You and walk in Your strength so that I can finish well. In Jesus’s name, amen.