“Finish Strong”

Finish Strong

Wade Webster

 Many people will finish this year in a weak way. They will end on a low note. They will coast to the close. Sadly, they will likely begin the New Year, if it comes, in the same way. They will begin the New Year in a hole.

Finish Strong Physically

It is estimated that the average American gains about seven pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Seven pounds in just over a month. Wow! Why? There are many reasons. First, there are two large meals and lots of leftovers. There are holiday extras - candy and baked goods. There are office parties and get-togethers. We determine that we will shed the pounds and count the calories when the calendar changes. After all, we tell ourselves, “Just enjoy the holidays.” In addition to the food, there are the time constraints connected with the holidays. Many individuals greatly reduce or stop exercising. Why? Shopping for the holidays replaces sets at the gym. The colder days and time change likely also contribute to the stoppage. Again, we tell ourselves to just get through the holidays. After all, gyms usually offer membership specials in January. We can get started back then. Rather than doing what others do, let’s finish strong physically. Let’s push back from the table and make time for exercise. Every little bit matters. Let’s not start the New Year off in a hole. Let’s start the New Year off with some speed. Although bodily exercise doesn’t profit as much as godliness, there are benefits to it (1 Tim. 4:7-8). Let’s remember that our body is a temple and take care of it. Paul wrote, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Finish Strong Mentally

In addition to the physical challenges that go with the holidays (food and time), there are the mental challenges (stress and worry) that go with it. There are gifts to buy, trees and houses to decorate, extra groceries to get, meals to prepare, family and friends to host, tickets to purchase, parties to attend, presents to wrap, and a million other things. There is the stress of charging and paying off charges. There is the fear that it all isn’t going to get done or that something important has been forgotten. Many people will end the year mentally exhausted and emotionally empty. Let’s not join them. Let’s finish the year mentally strong. Let’s not be anxious. Instead of worrying about things, let’s pray about them. Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). In like manner, Peter wrote, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).

Finish Strong Spiritually

Just as people get busy and quit exercising physically during the holidays, they often also do the same spiritually. They miss Bible classes and worship services (Heb. 10:25). They neglect personal Bible study (2 Tim. 2:15; Acts 17:11; 1 Pet. 2:2). They stop praying (1 Thess. 5:17). They stop giving their time, money, and energy. They stop visiting those in need (Jam. 1:27; Mt. 25:31-40). Sadly, many people will end the year spiritually weak. They will likely begin the New Year the same way. Let’s resolve not to do either one. Let’s not be weary in well doing (Gal. 6:9-10). Let’s press toward the mark and run through the tape. Paul wrote, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12-14).

How are you going to finish this year physically, mentally, and spiritually? Are you going to finish strongly or weakly? Are you going to end on a low note or a high note? Are you going to coast across the finish line or cross in full stride? Remember that the way that you finish this year will determine how you begin the New Year.