How did we finish? A question commonly asked after the race is run. What determines how we finished? What determines how well we did? Our finishing position doesn’t always indicate how we ran the race. In fact sometimes finishing last means victory. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“How’d you do?” is a familiar refrain. I remember the line from a popular movie, “the same as usual, I lost.” We determine how much progress we are making based on our finishing position, but that doesn’t always tell the story. Persevering and finishing is a great reward in itself.
One of the biggest hurdles in any racing career is learning how to finish. Finishing the race is the first step in the development of any driver. Anyone can drive fast, many can handle a car, but only a few learn what it means to finish. They are the drivers that advance their careers.
When you are learning how to finish the race your position doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you finished. I always look at the laps completed in the race statistics along with the status of the car. They give me a good indication of who was prepared to finish and who wasn’t. I know things happen that are out of our control, but to be running at the finish and take the checkered flag indicates the perseverance that marks a winner.
Hebrews 12:1-3, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
We can learn many things that will help us learn how to finish. First we need those who know how to finish to show us the way. Those who have experience and knowledge about the cars, tracks and other drivers provide invaluable information for us.
In life it means those who have come before us and have lived a life that honored God. Take a look around; is there someone who you can follow that is leading the right life, a life that honors God?
We need to be wary of the traps that we can get caught up in. In racing we can be distracted and lose focus when we forget what the goal is; finishing the race. Someone bumps us or pinches us down and suddenly our goal is to get even instead of finishing the race. When we get caught up in getting even we fail to finish the race. We end up parked right next to the guy we thought we showed a lesson to.
We can be easily distracted. We lose focus and we find ourselves entangled in situations and circumstances that God did not intend for us to experience. We let our selfishness get in the way and when we pursue what we want instead of what honors God we end up in places we should not be.
How do we find our way out of situations that have distracted us? First, don’t get discouraged. There is hope in Jesus. Adjust your thinking and turn to Him. He promises that when we turn to Him, He will be faithful and deliver us from our sin.
We need to develop perseverance. That means it won’t happen overnight. It will take time for us to get out of the entanglements we get ourselves into. It will take effort and prayer. We need to turn our focus to Jesus and learn from His example.
What does that mean in our lives? Are we right with God? Do we live lives that honor Him? If we put our focus on Jesus and accept the sacrifice He made for us we can be right with God. We can have hope. We can live a life full of joy regardless of the circumstances that surround us. We prepare ourselves to finish the race.
The term joy escapes our grasp sometimes. We think it means being happy. Not so. Joy is an inner peace and contentment that we experience when we please God. When we are doing God’s will and living the life He planned for us we experience joy. Joy is of the Lord. Paul wrote;
Philippians 4:4-7, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.
We must remember that Christ gave His life for us. We live lives that in many ways fall short of the life that God has for us. But Christ gave His life for us. Think about that, how easy is it to do something for someone else? Now add to that the fact that the person you are doing it for doesn’t deserve it. It is very difficult for us to be gracious to someone who we feel is undeserving.
God is different, He loves us unconditionally. God doesn’t provide for us based on whether we deserve it, He provides for us in spite of our actions. When we consider the sacrifice Jesus made for us and the fact that God offers salvation to us in spite of our actions we start to see how we need to respond.
Our tagline at RWJM is a combination of a few verses in Scripture; 1 Corinthians 9:24 and Hebrews 12:1-2;
“Run the race in such a way as to win, throw off everything that hinders and focus on Jesus.”
Perseverance is required, Hebrews 12:1b; “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
I want to encourage everyone to look toward the finish, don’t worry about where we started but persevere through the race and finish well!
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.