Embracing Your Purpose And How To Finish Strong. Is a guest post by Laura Mendenhall about life, living out your purpose and ending it on a high note, with Christ.
Let’s dive into something deep and meaningful—finishing strong in life. Ever wondered if you’re on the right track? Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads, wondering if you’re truly on the path you’re meant to be on?
It’s a question that often lingers in the back of our minds. Are we sprinting towards the finish line with the unwavering determination of the Apostle Paul, or are we inadvertently taking detours into the cozy lanes of our comfort zones, much like our friend Demas?
These stories hold a richness that goes beyond their surface, and it’s time to unravel their deeper meanings together. So, grab a figurative pair of binoculars, because we’re about to zoom in on the intricacies of these journeys.
It’s not just about the final destination, but the steps we take along the way. Let’s explore how we can navigate the winding roads of life with purpose and conviction.
Paul: The Unstoppable Force of Faith
Let’s start with the heavyweight champ, Paul. If you’ve flipped through the New Testament, you’ve probably come across his name. He’s like the Marvel superhero of the Bible, writing most of the New Testament and spreading the gospel like wildfire.
Now, picture this: Paul’s locked up in prison, the clock’s ticking, and he’s about to face the executioner. What does he do? He grabs a quill and parchment and starts writing one of the most powerful mic-drop moments in biblical history.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,”
2 Timothy 4:7.
Can you feel the intensity in those words? Paul wasn’t just wrapping up his autobiography; he was telling us how to live life to the fullest. He was on track to finish strong.
The Pauline Legacy: Going the Distance
Now, let’s talk about what makes Paul, well, Paul. He wasn’t just a church-planter extraordinaire; he was the poster child for perseverance. Despite floggings, imprisonments, and more perils than a Marvel superhero faces, he never wavered. He kept his faith rock-solid and his mission on point.
Paul’s life teaches us that when you sign up for a journey with God, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There’s sweat, blood, and tears involved.
Yet, despite the curveballs life threw at him, Paul embraced the adventure. He showed us that finishing strong isn’t about avoiding difficulties, but about tackling them head-on with faith and determination.
Demas: The Drift Away Dilemma
Now, let’s pivot to Demas. You might not know him as well as Paul, but he played a significant role in Paul’s posse. Demas was right there with Paul, preaching the gospel, and even doing time behind bars for it. So far, so good, right? But here’s where the plot thickens.
In 2 Timothy 4:10, we find out that Demas, the guy who was all in, suddenly bailed out. Why? He fell head over heels for “this present world” and high-tailed it to Thessalonica, leaving Paul in the dust. Demas, sadly, was not on track to finish strong.
The Demas Dilemma: When Comfort Calls
Now, hold on a second. Can we blame Demas for choosing a cozy home over prison bars and persecution? After all, who signs up for a life of hardship willingly? But here’s the kicker: God doesn’t promise a walk in the park when you’re on a divine mission.
Paul knew this all too well. He didn’t choose the easy road; he chose the road less traveled, filled with danger and uncertainty. He obeyed God, even when it got messy and risky. Demas, on the other hand, obeyed his fears. He let the allure of comfort cloud his commitment to God’s calling.
Paul: The Obedience Over Obstacles
Paul’s life shouts one thing from the mountaintops: obedience, no matter the odds. When God calls, He doesn’t always promise you’ll be sipping piña coladas on a beach somewhere. Sometimes, He leads you straight into a hurricane. But the destination is worth the turbulence.
Paul understood this. He knew that finishing strong meant staying the course, even when the going got tough. He faced floggings, imprisonments, and countless hardships, but he held onto his faith like a lifeline. He showed us that obedience, even in adversity, leads to an unshakeable legacy.
The Crown of Righteousness: Paul’s Ultimate Prize
In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul talks about a reward awaiting those who, like him, finish strong: “the crown of righteousness.” This isn’t some golden tiara you wear; it’s a symbol of a life lived with unwavering faith and commitment to Christ.
Paul saw this crown as the grand finale of his earthly journey—a journey marked by endurance, resilience, and a refusal to give in. It was the promise of a heavenly reward that transcended any worldly comfort. And guess what? He believed this reward wasn’t just for him; it was for anyone who loved the appearance of Christ.
Demas: The Pitfalls of Playing it Safe
Now, let’s rewind to Demas. His story isn’t just a cautionary tale; it’s a full-blown drama. Thessalonica, his final destination, seemed like a safe bet. It was familiar territory, his comfort zone. Many scholars think Demas chose it to dodge the hardships and potential persecution he’d face if he kept following Paul.
Demas’s story reminds us of the tightrope we walk between worldly comforts and spiritual commitment. It’s okay to seek comfort, but not at the expense of your calling. Demas, it seems, let his fear of suffering take precedence over his devotion to his faith.
The Comfort Conundrum: A Familiar Temptation
So, why did Demas choose the comfort zone? Well, it’s human nature. We’re wired to seek safety, security, and familiarity. Who wants to willingly walk into a storm? But here’s the twist: God’s call often leads us through the storm.
Paul understood this. He knew that following God meant facing challenges head-on. And he did it, day in and day out because he believed that the reward far outweighed any temporary comfort.
The Choices You Make Daily Matter
Just like Paul and Demas, you face decisions that define your journey. Will you embrace life’s challenges with unwavering faith, like Paul? Or will you succumb to the allure of comfort, like Demas?
Daily Choices, Lifetime Impact
The path to finishing strong isn’t a one-time decision; it’s a series of choices you make daily. Paul’s journey shows that God’s call can lead to challenging places. There are no guarantees of an easy road when you follow your divine calling. But the reward is beyond any worldly comfort. That crown of righteousness Paul spoke of? It’s waiting for those who persevere, for those who finish strong.
Demas teaches us that it’s easy to lose sight of our calling when trials hit. Seeking refuge in the familiar may seem like a sensible choice, but it can lead to spiritual stagnation and regret. The allure of worldly comforts can sidetrack even those who initially walk the path of faith.
Your Journey, Your Choice
In this journey called life, you’ll face moments of decision. Will you follow the path of Paul, marked by unwavering faith and commitment, even in adversity? Or will you take the detour of Demas, seeking comfort and security at the expense of your calling?
The choice is yours, and it’s a choice you make daily. To finish strong, let’s take inspiration from Paul’s unwavering faith and learn from Demas’s cautionary tale. With faith, endurance, and a willingness to embrace life’s challenges, you can be on track to finish strong, leaving a lasting legacy of faith and perseverance for generations to come.
May you, like Paul, declare at the end of your journey, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
How To Stay On Track and Finish Strong?
Alright, let’s zoom in on this whole “finishing strong” concept. It sounds fantastic, but how do you stay on track when life throws curveballs your way? Let’s take a closer look and see how you can navigate those unexpected detours on your journey to finishing strong.
Expect the Unexpected: Life’s Twisty Roads
First things first, life rarely unfolds as neatly as we plan. It’s more like a winding, unpredictable road trip through the mountains than a straightforward freeway. You might have mapped out your life with precision, but then comes that sudden turn or unforeseen obstacle.
Paul knew this better than anyone. His life journey was packed with unexpected twists. Imprisonments, shipwrecks, beatings – you name it, he faced it. Yet, through it all, he stayed the course. How? By expecting the unexpected and relying on his unshakable faith.
Flexible Faith: Your GPS for Life’s Journey
Think of faith as your GPS on this life journey. It’s what keeps you on track, even when the road gets bumpy. Faith doesn’t mean knowing every turn in advance; it means trusting that even when you can’t see the way, God does.
Paul’s faith was flexible. It adapted to the terrain of life. When he faced adversity, he didn’t panic; he leaned into his faith and found the strength to endure. That’s what allowed him to finish strong.
Roadblocks and Redirections: Demas’s Dilemma
Now, let’s circle back to Demas for a moment. He faced his own roadblock, didn’t he? Instead of pushing through, he took a detour – a costly one. Sometimes, life throws challenges that feel insurmountable. And that’s when we face a choice: Do we navigate the obstacle, or do we find an escape route?
Demas chose the latter. He retreated to the comforts of Thessalonica, abandoning his calling and mentor in the process. It’s a stark reminder that our responses to life’s challenges determine our trajectory.
Stay Alert for Road Signs: The Power of Discernment
One essential skill for staying on track is discernment. Just as you watch for road signs and markers on a journey, discernment helps you navigate life’s decisions. It’s that inner compass guiding you when choices aren’t clear-cut.
Paul had a strong sense of discernment. He could distinguish between God’s calling and worldly distractions. Demas, on the other hand, lacked discernment when faced with adversity. He mistook comfort for safety and veered off course.
Resilience: The Shock Absorbers of Life
Think of resilience as your shock absorbers on life’s bumpy road. It’s the ability to bounce back when life’s potholes threaten to derail you. Resilience isn’t about avoiding obstacles; it’s about bouncing forward despite them.
Paul was the king of resilience. He faced hardships that would make the toughest of us flinch, yet he bounced back stronger each time. His secret? An unshakeable faith that allowed him to endure and persevere.
Embracing Growth: Life’s Scenic Overlooks
One thing you’ll notice on a road trip are those scenic overlooks – those breathtaking views that make the journey worthwhile. Life’s journey is no different. Challenges and detours aren’t just roadblocks; they’re opportunities for growth and transformation.
Paul understood this deeply. His imprisonments, beatings, and trials weren’t mere obstacles; they were opportunities to grow in faith and character. Each challenge strengthened his resolve to finish strong.
Community: Your Traveling Companions
Now, let’s talk about your travel companions. Just as you choose who to take on a road trip, you decide who accompanies you through life’s journey. Paul had a community of fellow believers who supported and encouraged him.
Demas, however, faced his challenges in isolation. He didn’t have the support system that Paul had nurtured. It’s a reminder that surrounding yourself with the right people can make all the difference in staying on track.
Realigning Your GPS: When You Stray
Can I address the elephant in the room? We all stray off course sometimes. We make wrong turns, miss exits, and sometimes find ourselves in the middle of nowhere. But here’s the good news: just like a GPS, you can realign your life’s journey.
Paul didn’t have a flawless track record. He had his moments of doubt and frustration. But he always realigned his faith and commitment to God. When he faltered, he sought God’s guidance, and that kept him on track.
Finish Strong: The Ultimate Destination
So, what’s the ultimate destination on this life journey? It’s not a physical place, but a state of being. It’s finishing strong, like Paul did. It’s declaring, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
To reach this destination, you’ll need faith that’s flexible, resilience like shock absorbers, discernment as your compass, and a supportive community as your travel companions. Challenges and detours aren’t roadblocks; they’re opportunities for growth and transformation.
Conclusion: Your Journey, Your Story
Remember, your life journey is your story, unique and ever-unfolding. You’ll face twists and turns, but with faith and the right mindset, you can stay on track. Paul’s journey teaches us that finishing strong isn’t about avoiding difficulties, but about embracing them as part of the adventure.
Demas’s story reminds us that comfort can be a tempting detour. But in the end, it’s the challenges we overcome that lead to a life well-lived.
So, here’s to your journey, filled with faith, resilience, discernment, and a supportive community. May you navigate life’s detours with grace and finish strong, leaving a lasting legacy of faith and perseverance for generations to come.
About the Author
Laura Mendenhall is a full-time nomad as she explores the country in an RV called, "The Mendenhauler," with her husband, three kids, and dog. When she's not exploring caves, historic monuments, or farms, she enjoys writing, cooking, and laughing at corny jokes (they get her every time). She is the author of the best-selling Love Fast Live Slow, Discover the Simplicity of Reflecting Jesus in a Stressful World. Her fifteen years of experience writing online bible studies and leading women in discipleship shines through her ministry at Love Fast Live Slow. Laura has a Master of Arts in Discipleship Ministries from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Her lifelong goal is to help more people generate peace in their lives by stepping back, slowing down, and serving others.