Finishing strong

I enjoy mountain biking, but I hate being unfit (as I am). The other day, cycling with a friend, I had to stop half way through a route to get off my bike and sit down!

Steve Farrar wrote a very good book for men called: “Finishing Strong – Going the distance for your family”. Farrar points out the danger to men of messing up and not finishing the Christian life as faithful men, or as Paul described, as being “disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

We all want to finish strong as Christians. We all want to be effective, productive Christians. We don’t want to slip into sin and addiction. We don’t want to fall in the wilderness as the majority of Israelites did after the Exodus. As Christians, we can’t loose our salvation because God is faithful, but we can live in disobedience and suffer God’s discipline and withdrawal of blessing.

The Bible says that the Israelites all shared the same spiritual privileges, but still the majority did not enter the Promised Land and finish strong (1 Corinthians 10:1-5). Similarly, you may have enjoyed many spiritual blessings, been a member of a good church and even attended a great bible study, yet you may be in danger of slipping up half way. How do we prevent this from happening? The Bible uses the Israelites example as a warning to us to flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:7,14). Idolatry is the root cause of all sin. Idolatry is putting a created thing before the creator. Idolatry is the default position of our hearts. If you want to finish the Christian race strong, guard your heart against idolatry. We can idolize anything: food, sport, marriage, sex, status, money, and ourselves. Idolatry leads you to take your allegiance and worship away from Jesus, and to worship at the altar of a foreign god. If you worship the sex god, you will end up an adulterer or pornographer. If you worship the food good, you will end up obese.

What are you tempted to worship? Jesus, or something or someone else? The Bible goes on to say that God will not permit us to be tempted beyond what we can endure and God will provide a way through the trial in order that we, through persistent trust and obedience, may finish strong (1 Corinthians 10:12-13.)