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Run the Race to Finish

It’s easy to get excited about beginnings: the birth of something new, the start of a fresh place. But we often forget that both the beginning and end have a purpose. Finishing matters.  

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

2 Tim. 4:17 NLT

What a beautiful reminder that we are not running this race to win; we are running to finish. Friend, God has positioned you in this time and given you specific gifts and talents to serve Him. Your race is now and it’s important. You’ve been handed the baton of faith and entrusted to carry it forward as you run your part in God’s divine relay. Here are some reminders as you run your race: 

Train to endure

Do you remember what it’s like to run when you haven’t run in a long time? When you’re so out of shape that you can’t even run one mile without stopping several times to catch your breath? I am reminded of the intense training marathon runners go through. They train day by day, putting one foot in front of the other. Eventually, they can run many miles without stopping. This is because they build endurance and gradually adapt, allowing their bodies to train for the long haul. They don’t just train their bodies for endurance, but they also fuel their bodies properly to run the race. They change how they eat so their muscles can heal and rebound between runs, and they also store enough energy so they can function properly. 

Like that of a marathon runner, your race requires proper training, nutrition, and self-discipline. It’s not just about the output but also about the input. God’s Word strengthens you and sustains you through your journey, and prayer and intimacy are where you rest, fuel, and receive the supernatural power of healing to continue.  

Throw it off

I remember many times during a walk or a run when I realized I had a tiny rock in my shoe. Sure, I tried to ignore it, but until I took off my shoe to get rid of that little rock, it was impossible to focus on anything else. If not dealt with, the rock could rub my foot raw, cause wounds, or even worse, cost me the race. We all have things we need to throw off or get rid of. 

In the book of Hebrews we are challenged, “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” (Heb. 12:1 NIV). 

Maybe you’re in a season of transition in your race and the terrain is looking a little different. Just remember, how you leave a season will impact how you enter the next. If you leave offended, you start defensive. If you finish weak, you start fragile. If you leave healthy, you start strong. You are still running the race; what you pick up in one season is often carried into the next. Travel lightly! You cannot go where you are going without leaving where you have been. Once you’ve thrown off what you should not be holding on to, you are free to grasp new batons. Consider the power of carrying these batons into new places rather than dragging along the heaviness of old priorities, hurts and resentments, or sins and scars. 

Rest

Rest is vitally important when running the race. Sometimes to finish well, you need to rest. While you rest, Jesus moves. I have experienced amazing seasons of rest when I have seen God work in miraculous ways. A season of rest is just a season of catching your breath! There are seasons when you need to run, and then there are seasons when you need to stop and breathe… and that is okay. Some experiences are going to bruise you or knock the wind out of you. When that happens, take a moment and catch your breath. Remember, it’s not about winning the race – finishing is what matters!  

Rest, if done properly, allows you to examine the reasons for your tiredness and relinquish what is not yours to carry. The trials, challenges, disappointments, obstacles, and hurdles you face as you run will naturally impact you. It’s not easy to go the distance, is it? The battles can be fiercer and the terrain rockier than you anticipated. Maybe, as you read this, your lungs feel like they are going to burst, and your muscles are burning because you didn’t know this would be so hard. Yet here you are, determined and locking eyes with the One who has numbered your days. Train to endure, throw off all that burdens you, and rest when needed. Keep your eyes on Jesus and finish well!  

About the Author


Sarah Holsapple

Sarah Holsapple serves on staff at her church in Cedar Rapids, IA, as the Creative & Spiritual Development Director. She serves alongside her husband of almost 20 years, Pastor Harris, who is the Lead Pastor at First Open Bible. Sarah has been teaching and preaching for several years. She’s passionate about discipleship and women’s ministry and served as the Regional Women’s Director for Open Bible Central Region. One of her favorite things in life is being a mom to her two incredible children, Hudson and Lynnley Jo.  

The last several years for Sarah have been the hardest of her life. She truly knows the depths of heartbreak and what it feels like to wrestle through healing. She has seen God move in miraculous ways and has experienced great comfort in knowing that we serve a faithful God. Sarah feels great joy in sharing encouragement from the word of God, seeing lives changed and people set free! 

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