Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)

I remember in April of 1970 when I was 8 years old, I started playing Baseball at Southeastern Little League. I played on the Minor League “Centaurs.” I was so excited because my parents signed me up to play baseball. My parents loved baseball. The year before I got a chance to go to my first Major League Baseball game; it was the San Diego Padres against the San Francisco Giants at the then “San Diego Stadium.” My favorite baseball player was Willie Mays.” I remember that day so vividly. By the way, the Padres lost. So there I was, at my first practice; I had my glove; my cleats and my uniform. I was ready to play ball. This was the start of my baseball playing days. But there was a problem; I wasn’t any good. As a matter of fact, I was downright sorry. I remember my parents were so proud of me, as I would go out to right field. That is where they put the players that were sorry. Needless to say, that year, I played the mandatory 2 innings per game. That’s what was mandated for the players who were not that good. Let’s just say I started out not good at all.

Then came 1971. Things changed. I got much better, I could catch. I could hit, I was moved to the catcher position and I played the whole game. By the time I was in the Major League on the Pirates, I made the All Star Team. If you thought my parents were proud of me then, you should have seen them when I was playing in All Star Games. My point is, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

That is where we are as Christians. We do not start out as being mature. We start out as babes in Christ, spiritual infants. We start out new to this walk of faith. We start out spiritually immature. that is why it is important for every believer to get united in a strong, doctrinally sound Bible teaching church where they can start the process of growing in spiritual maturity. If we are to carefully examine the lives of those listed in Hebrews 11, we will see that there were flaws and failures in each of them. We must remember, it is not how you start, it is how you finish. Abraham, who believed God and it was counted unto him as righteousness, failed 7 times after God called him to go to a land where He would show him. It was after that, when God told Abraham to take his son Isaac, his only son whom Abraham loved and offer him as a burnt offering. Without hesitation, Abraham obeyed God’s command. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

Every believer is faced with many transitional situations in our walk of faith in Christ. We are on a quest to live our lives to the glory of God. Because of our humanness, we fall short sometimes. Every time we stumble and fall short, we must be reminded of the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is absolutely necessary for us to get back up and keep pushing forward by faith. Some will look down on us. Some will condemn us. Some will say that we are not genuine. Nevertheless, we must hold on to the words Apostle Paul told to the Philippians believers when he said, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6).

It should be all of our desire to enter into the presence of our Redeemer on a blaze of glory; living our lives to His glory and honor. Understanding that we are not what we ought to be, but as we examine our lives we should be able to see and thank God that we are not what we used to be.

Let none of us, only call to remembrance the way someone used to be. If you have seen growth in them, praise God that He is working in their life, just like He is working in your life. On that day we enter into His presence, The Scripture says emphatically that He is going… “to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” (Jude 25b). So therefore, take some time to acknowledge that it is not how you start, it is how you finish. So I encourage every believer to finish strong, then we can say like Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith….” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor James Moore, Jr.