I began writing yesterday about running. The introduction got a little out of hand, so today there will be none. :) Just read yesterday's post, and then we'll get right into it. I have done my run/walk/run thing in many 5Ks, and I have the medals to prove it. I know that's not really far (3.1 miles), but they are always out in the real world, where breathing is an issue. So there is an element of needing to die, faint, or collapse with every race for me. The Christian life is likened to a race many times in the Bible. See, that's good for me. You know I need something visual. A race, I get. There's a starting point with people cheering, a finish line with more people cheering, and the grueling journey in between. Hebrews 12:1-2~ "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Now, that's such good stuff that I really don't need any more Scripture, even though there is plenty more. The witnesses, the difficult things, and the running with patience. Notice that there are two kinds of difficult things. Weights are things that we've added on that we need to get rid of. You wouldn't believe the things that you see tossed to the side of the track as you run. Enough sweatshirts to have a yard sale. People who decided to toss things, because those things were a burden and were slowing them down. Get rid of them. And then, the sin that doth easily beset us. That's a little more personal. That's self, and all that goes with it. Our personal battles. Everyone has besetting sin. Everyone! We cause ourselves trouble. We get in our own way. We hinder ourselves. So easily and quickly. Get rid of that, too. Looking unto Jesus! Yay! Our motivation. My reason for living and running. The author and finisher of our faith! There is more to verse two. Precious words. They move me to tears, and have incredible meaning for me. But I'll stick with the race and write on that another day. It's interesting that they even call it a race. Perhaps it is a race for the first hundred people. I'm supposing that up there somewhere there is a struggle for who will come in first, second, and so on. But not for me. My race is my own journey at my own pace. I need to manage my breathing, pace myself, and reach my goal-- the finish line. I'm racing against no one but myself. My goal is to finish and finish well. As well as I possibly can. Sometimes there is a required pace, and if you go slower than that, you risk getting picked up in that little golf cart. There is no medal at the end for golf cart riders. You didn't finish well. And that's where we're really going today. Finishing. Galatians 5:7 - "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" Good question, right? I have seen so many people start out strong for the Lord, and then faint and you never see them again. I could write a book with examples. Some of them are personal, and they hurt. I don't understand quitting. I don't understand even wanting to quit. There is a fire burning within my heart. The closer I get to the Lord, the more He fans that fire. I must go! I must run! I want to finish strong. Acts 20:24 - "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy." I want to finish my course with joy. That pretty much sums it up for me now. To finish strong, with joy! Finish well!