Finishing strong is a concept that is emphasized throughout the Bible. As Christians, we are called to persevere and continue following and serving God faithfully to the very end.
- God rewards those who remain faithful and endure to the end.
- We must continue trusting God even when facing trials and persecution.
- Running the race requires self-discipline, focus, and removing distractions.
- We can finish strong by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.
- God will provide the strength we need to persevere to the end.
- Finishing strong brings glory to God and earns eternal rewards.
The Bible makes it clear that the Christian life is not a sprint but a marathon. Just as athletes train and prepare for the long haul, we must spiritually equip ourselves for the lifelong journey of following Christ.
God Rewards Those Who Endure to the End
One of the most important principles in Scripture about finishing strong is that there is a reward for those who endure and remain faithful to the end.
In Matthew 24:13, Jesus declares “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Salvation is the ultimate reward for persevering in our faith. Jesus emphasizes that despite trials, temptations, and persecution, the reward goes to those who stand firm to the finish line.
The apostle Paul reiterates this promise in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.“
At the end of his life, Paul looks back confidently knowing he remained faithful through every trial and challenge. He does not boast in his own works but rather keeps his eyes fixed on the crown of righteousness awarded by Jesus. This crown is promised not just to Paul but to all believers who finish strong in their faith.
The book of James reminds us that those who persevere under trial will receive the crown of life (James 1:12). Revelation 2:10 also promises a crown of life to the believer who overcomes and remains faithful even unto death. God is pleased to reward those who show unwavering devotion and commitment to Him. These passages should encourage us to fix our eyes on the eternal reward and not lose heart!
We Must Continue Trusting God Through Trials
Finishing strong in our faith requires enduring through the trials and tribulations that will inevitably come. This life is filled with hardships, persecutions, disappointments, pains, and uncertainties. Too often these difficulties cause some to stumble and abandon their faith.
Yet the Bible calls us to persevere and continue trusting God even in the darkest nights. In James 1:2-4, we are instructed: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.“
Trials are allowed by God to test and strengthen our faith so that we may mature. We can count them joy because of how God will use them to refine us. But we must allow perseverance to complete its work in us through every hardship. As we do, we will finish strong and become fully mature in Christ.
Romans 5:3-5 also reminds us of the fruits of perseverance: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.“
There is a chain reaction that happens when we persevere. Suffering leads to perseverance, which shapes our character, which then strengthens our hope. As we learn to trust God through sufferings, we are shaped more into His image and filled with His Spirit. This empowers us to finish strong regardless of our circumstances.
So the next time trials come, remember God uses them to produce steadfastness and hope in us. We can have joy and confidence that He will bring us through as we keep trusting in Him.
Running the Race Requires Self-Discipline and Focus
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, the apostle Paul compares the Christian life to running a race in such a way as to get the prize. He emphasizes the self-discipline required:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Paul highlights the intense training and focus needed to run effectively and win the race. He does not run aimlessly but with purpose and discipline. He goes so far as to make his own body his slave so that he is not disqualified.
As Christians, we too need such determination to remove distractions and discipline ourselves to follow Christ wholeheartedly to the end. The prize – the crown of righteousness – far outweighs any earthly pleasures or distractions.
Hebrews 12:1-2 gives similar encouragement: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.“
If we want to finish strong, we must throw off unnecessary weights and sins that entangle us and threaten to make us stumble. We keep our eyes fixed on Christ as we run with perseverance. Jesus himself endured the cross for the joy set before Him. We too can scorn distractions and shame when we see the eternal glory and rewards set before us.
Part of finishing strong is cultivating discipline to say no to temptations and anything that holds us back from fully following Christ. We must be focused and committed to running effectively all the way through the finish line.
Keeping Our Eyes Fixed on Jesus
One key truth that enables believers to finish strong is keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). We can endure to the end only by looking to Him, the One who endured the cross on our behalf.
In Hebrews 12:1-3, we see the importance of fixing our eyes on Jesus:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
By keeping our eyes on Christ, we gain strength to persevere when faced with opposition and trials. We are reminded that He endured torture and death on the cross, and was willing to suffer greatly because He had the end goal in sight. This encourages us not to lose heart or grow weary even when suffering for Christ.
No one finishes the Christian race well without setting their gaze continually upon Jesus. He is our model of endurance and overcoming adversity for the glory set before Him. Focusing on Him fuels our faith and passion to follow in His footsteps. This truth is emphasized in Hebrews 3:1: “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.“
The book of Hebrews was written partly to encourage believers facing persecution to remain strong in their faith. The writer continually points them to Jesus and His example of enduring suffering to achieve greater glory and joy. We need this same focus today. In all we face, we must fix our eyes upon Jesus, our perfect example of finishing strong.
God Provides Strength to Keep Going
Not only does God promise amazing rewards for those who finish strong, but He also provides the strength we need to persevere to the end. We will face obstacles, trials, pain, rejection, and conflict as Christians. On our own, we do not have sufficient strength to stand firm.
But the Bible promises that God will empower us by His Spirit to remain steadfast no matter what we face. Ephesians 3:16 asks that God would “strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” When we are anchored in God’s strength, we can finish our course without stumbling or shrinking back.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:3, Paul states: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” God Himself is faithful, and He will guard our hearts and strengthen us to stand against every attack of the Enemy. We do not need to fear falling away or being overcome, for our Father keeps us secure in His hands.
Isaiah 40:31 promises: “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This hope in God energizes us afresh to keep running the race without exhaustion or fainting.
And in Isaiah 41:10, God gives this assurance: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” We need never fear finishing poorly, for God promises to be with us, strengthen us, help us, and uphold us to the end.
Finishing strong is only possible because of God’s enablement through His Spirit. Relying on the Spirit’s power allows us to endure to the end just like Jesus did. God provides renewed strength whenever we need it to persevere.
We Bring Glory to God by Finishing Strong
One final motivation for finishing strong in our Christian lives is that it brings great glory and praise to God. As believers, everything we do should be for His glory, including how we run the race of faith.
In John 15:8 Jesus declares, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Bearing spiritual fruit and proving ourselves faithful disciples glorifies the Father. Finishing well shows we genuinely are in Christ and serve Him wholeheartedly.
We also see from 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 that living lives worthy of God leads to glorifying Him:
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The apostle prays believers would bear fruit in keeping with their calling so that Jesus’s name is honored. When our lives are marked by goodness, faith, and perseverance, God receives all the praise and glory.
Finishing strong also earns eternal rewards that we can one day cast at Jesus’s feet. In Revelation 4:10-11, the elders in heaven fall down before the throne and cast their crowns before the Lord saying, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.“
All glory is given to the Lord. The crowns and rewards we receive are simply another opportunity to worship the One who enabled us to finish well. Our lives lived faithfully for Christ until the end bring Him the most glory.
Finishing strong for God’s glory is the goal of every Christian. The Bible repeatedly emphasizes the eternal rewards given to those who faithfully serve and honor Christ throughout their entire lives. God promises to strengthen us through every trial and hardship so that we can persevere. Fixing our eyes on Jesus gives us the motivation to endure as He did. Running with discipline and self-control keeps us from stumbling. Finishing well shows the genuineness of our faith and brings praise to our Savior. By God’s grace, may we all strive to remain faithful to the Lord unto death so we may hear “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21).