“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Finishing Well, by Randall D. Kittle
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I believe there is a critically important lesson all believers need to learn from the final game of the Green Bay Packers football season. As hard as it is for a Chicago Bears fan like me to admit, the Packers had a great season. They finished the year as the NFC North division champions, and easily beat their archrivals (my beloved Bears) twice along the way. After resting during the bye week, the Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys and headed into the NFC Championship game — their ticket to the Super Bowl.

The Packers started the game quickly and built up a 13-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. They continued playing well in the second quarter and increased their lead to 16-points by halftime. The Packers certainly seemed to be headed to Super Bowl XLIX … until they decided to stop trying to win and merely coast to the victory with about 5 minutes left in the game.

This change in focus from trying to press forward and finish strong to just going through the motions was just what Seattle needed to spark some hope. Though Green Bay still had a 12-point lead with only three minutes left in the game, it was Seattle that looked like the team wanting and working to win. The Seahawks scored an astounding 15 points in 44 seconds, and went on to win the game in overtime.

The
Green Bay Press Gazette (the Packers’ local paper) dubbed it “… the worst loss in Green Bay Packer history.” It was far from their biggest margin of defeat, but it was the most disappointing loss because victory was in their grasp and they let it slip away. By failing to finish, the Green Bay Packers snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory. The games final outcome was summed up by fullback John Kuhn who said, “We played a good game. We just didn’t finish.” Because they failed to finish, all their work for the season from training camps, to weight room work outs, through the pre-season, and game after game for the long and exhausting season was forfeited … they came up five minutes short!

Finishing is Key
Finishing is a real key to success in any sports. In football, you must play till the whistle blows. In NASCAR, you have to go until you cross the checkered flag. In track, you have to run all the way through the tape.

Finishing and finishing well is also a huge part of success in our Christian walk. No matter how well we start or how hard we may have worked to keep things going and moving forward, it will all be in vain if we fail to finish well.

This is why Paul exhorted his young protégé Timothy to follow after his example,
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Paul declared that he had given his all by staying true to his calling to serve God and not wavering from his convictions about God. Along the way, Paul experienced extreme hardship, but he persevered. He had relationships that were stressed and stretched. Paul suffered from the misconceptions of some and the expectations of others. The pressures and disappointments of life could easily have caused him to give up and bail out. But Paul didn’t, he stayed the course and finished well.

Like Paul, we can keep our eyes on Christ, stay close to Him, and finish well, with God’s help. Let us refuse to start coasting out our Christian walk and purpose to press forward into all God has for us. Let us never settle for lukewarm living that merely goes through the motions, but choose to go out and live victoriously the abundant life that Jesus died to give us. Let us choose to run the race of life all the way to the finish line giving God our best every step of the way.

With God’s help, I want to finish well by giving Him my best every step of the way. I hope you do, too.

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