The how-to guide to finishing strong

Some days, I feel like I’m living the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I get up and start a project. Then I have to go downstairs to get something and see all the laundry, so I change loads of laundry. Then I walk through the kitchen and see all the dirty dishes, so I wash those. When I wipe off the table, I get crumbs on the floor and….what project was I working on today? I make a really good start, but finishing? Not so much! Ever been there? Jude gives us a glimpse on how we can finish strong….

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 1:3, 20-21)

Some days, I feel like I’m living the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I get up and start a project. Then I have to go downstairs to get something and see all the laundry, so I change loads of laundry. Then I walk through the kitchen and see all the dirty dishes, so I wash those. When I wipe off the table, I get crumbs on the floor and….what project was I working on today? I make a really good start, but finishing? Not so much! Ever been there?

It is super easy to start something and really WANT to finish it but get distracted or bored or tired and not finish at all. Jude is encouraging us to contend for the faith and to finish strong. Why? He wrote this letter towards the end of his life. He had seen a lot. He had seen some finish strong while others did not, and he gives us a glimpse here as to what can help us to finish strong.

  1. Building up your faith.
  2. Praying.
  3. Keeping yourself in the love of God.

I want to look at #3 today. Let’s look at love.

Nevertheless I (Jesus) have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, (Revelation 2:4-5)

It’s like a marriage. In a good marriage, the husband and wife are staying connected on all levels. They talk to each other throughout the day. They touch and hug and hold hands. They spend time together on all levels daily. They are AWARE of the love of their spouse because they are continuously in contact with the love of their spouse.

It’s when life gets busy and you are running the kids in ten different directions and working overtime and, and, and…that the feeling wanes. That is when the marriage can get cold and boring and you aren’t as connected and have what we call “Roommate Syndrome” when you no longer feel like husband and wife. You are just roommates.

The #1 reason people give for ending a marriage is, “I just don’t love them anymore.” Love isn’t a feeling. Love is likely still there. They just aren’t as AWARE of it as they once were. Why? Love is an act of staying constantly connected.

The church of Ephesus had fallen into roommate syndrome with the Lord. He warns them if they don’t make a change, they won’t finish well. They won’t finish strong. They might not finish at all. What did He tell them to do? Return to their first love. Reconnect with Him.

One thing that will help us finish strong in our walk with God is keeping ourselves in His love to us. This is not about doing things to EARN His love. It’s about being AWARE of His love. His love for us doesn’t change no matter what we do. But our AWARENESS of His love certainly can change.

Nobody starts a project with the intent of only getting half done. Nobody starts a marriage thinking they will just do this for a few years and then walk away. Nobody starts walking with the Lord with the intent of letting it get cold and blah. It takes effort, work, and determination to finish strong.

This week we will start a new year. It’s the time of year we usually evaluate what needs to change and what we want to do differently. Maybe you are feeling kind of blah in your relationship with God. It’s not because His love changed…maybe you just aren’t as aware of it as you once were.

Maybe you are feeling amazing in your relationship with Him. Kuddos! But there is always a deeper and more intimate walk with Him we can have.

Jude was challenging them here…go deeper. Go higher! Stay strong in His love. Don’t be satisfied and complacent. Keep pressing forward. There are things we can do to accomplish that. (There is so much I want to say…too much for one post, so we will look at this again tomorrow I’m sure.)

Let’s take that challenge and see just how close to Him we can get this year. Who’s with me?

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly] (Philippians 3:10 AMP)

 

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