In any race it is not the start that is remembered. It is the finish! Of course, the better the start, the greater the possibility the finish will be great also. It is, however, how we finish that really counts.
Many of the great men and women recorded in the Bible had very good beginnings, but their finishes ended in tragedy. First Corinthians 10:12 reminds us of this important possibility: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” The Message makes this warning unmistakably clear: “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” This is not the future any of us expect to come to pass, but if we refuse to heed Paul’s warning it may. Cultivating God-confidence will prevent us from falling flat on our faces.
This warning is worth giving serious consideration. Many people begin in the Christian life and genuinely start to grow and develop their lives in the Word of God. Oh, they are so thrilled with their new-found faith. Their home begins to come under God’s influence, their business takes a turn for the better, things seem to be going so well. But after a time, the enemy puts pressure on them. It’s what they do at this critical point that determines how they will finish.
Satan wants to destroy what God builds in our lives. When it looks as though we are standing firm, that’s when we must be on the alert for the enemy’s attack. We must continue to protect the things that we have begun to receive from God. We must remain strong in our spirit.
We must constantly keep God’s Word stirred up in our hearts. We must always consider our ways and give attention to growing in the love of God. We cannot allow ourselves to be lulled to sleep, imagining things will continue to go well. We are living in the dangerous last days that the Bible warns us about. Consequently, our thoughts must be kept on God’s supply and our attention on His provision for us.
There are many people in the Bible who had a wonderful start in their endeavors with God. But though they began well, they did not have a strong finish. We certainly don’t want to be counted among them. Instead, we can listen to the admonition of Haggai to, “Consider your ways…” (Haggai 1:5).
Throughout the Word of God we read of people whom God has placed before us as examples. Some of these are positive examples. Some are not so positive. Yet they all serve to demonstrate that when a person follows God’s plan for his life the results will be powerful and life-changing.