In a conversation with a friend this week, I described my early activity in the church as “I thought I could do everything so I did”. Of course, I could not do everything well. Also, some things and some people got left out. Sadly, sometimes it was my children. I did not recognize my limitations and lacked boundaries. I had the problem that leaders of ancient times had. Dallas Willard describes them in his book, “The Great Omission”.
He says the primary reason kings of Judah and Israel failed was because “they took more upon themselves than was warranted”. In other words, they ignored the limits (boundaries) of human strength and stopped relying on God (acted independently from him). They did not finish well.
I want to finish the race God has given me to run. I want to finish it well. I want to hear Jesus say, “Well done!” I assume that’s something you, too, want to hear. It’s possible for every one of us.
God blessed me with grace, showed me my past errors, and forgave me. He’s been faithfully teaching me what it takes to finish well. No matter what we’ve done or failed to do when we come to him admitting our failures and committing to change he will forgive us. We can get back into the race.
Simply stated, there are two parts to finishing well: God’s part and my part. God’s part is grace. My part is a choice to receive God’s grace. Accordingly, I call my website “choosinggrace”.
The grace God offers includes forgiveness, mercy, faithfulness, strength, truth (revelation of reality), love, gifts of the Spirit, fruit of the Spirit and much more.
My choice to receive God’s grace involves effort. There’s a lot to learn. Yet, as I connect with Jesus, it’s restful, not stressful work. To finish well, I must learn and practice disciplines. Disciplines which successful followers of Jesus practiced. These include solitude, fasting, meditation, Scripture memory, prayer, confession, celebration, fellowship, giving, and more.
Setting a boundary for myself, which defines the race God has called me to do, and sticking to it is a difficult discipline to practice. It means saying “no” to people who might be disappointed. It means saying “no” to my own desires, even good desires which distract me and keep me from finishing at all.
This fall I am starting, again. I’ve reviewed what it is God has called me to do, made plans, and I’m acting on them. This week I said “no” to my desire to be involved in several worthwhile events. I want to finish well.
Questions to consider:
What is that you’ve heard Jesus call you to do?
What discipline do you most need to learn in order to finish well?
Design your life to do, today, What you heard Jesus say This requires that you plan Though it’s not a written command Without it, you will drift away From what you heard the Spirit say If you want to finish well On this message you must dwell You must, also, work your plan And when you fail, just start again. Do not think when you’re corrected That you have been rejected Remember Jesus loves you Rejoice because he called you Discipline is hard (that he knows) Without it, no child ever grows. Without correction, you’d be dreadful Without correction, you’d have a head full Of information, not examined Of knowledge, not applied Design your life to do,today, What you heard Jesus say Jane Ault 8/20/2020