To Finish Well, You Must Run with a Good Attitude

im_into_itContinued from here.

Paul did not only finish his race: He did so with a good attitude. Even though he had suffered much as he ran his race, his eye was on the prize until the very end:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” ~ 2 Tim. 4:6-8

Paul did not feel sorry for himself for all he had to suffer to finish the race. His focus remained on the goal – loving God enough to finish all he was assigned to do. He was joyful about what awaited him when he spent eternity with God. His focus was on spiritual matters, not temporal ones.

This one is the hardest part of finishing well for me – running with a good attitude that is focused on the eternal rather than the temporal. The temporal voices are so loud – my family and friends wanting more of my time … my body wanting more rest … my extroverted nature wanting more “fun time” and less “work time” … Unless I remain mindful of focusing on why I am putting myself through this season of sacrifice, I am vulnerable to finishing the race as a grumbler, which does not honor God.

It was an honor for God to choose Paul to run the race that he was called to. It is also an honor for God to choose me to run the race that He has given me, and it’s an honor for God to have called you for your race. We need to remember what a blessing and honor it is to be called by God and serve Him wholeheartedly and without grumbling. That’s the only way to finish the race well.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling and pointing to herself above the words, “I’m into it!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

Advertisements

Remember Whose You Are

u_get_meContinued from here.

The second perspective-shifting message I received during my bizarre spiritual experience was that I need to remember WHOSE I am. I belong to God. Thus, my behavior needs to be directed by God, not by my body, emotions, troubles, or anything else.

Vicktor Frankl, who was imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp, shared these wise words:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Vicktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

This is the same thing that Paul tells us about our ability to choose our thoughts:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ~ Phil. 4:8

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~ 2 Cor. 10:5

While it is completely human and understandable for me to become fixated on my physical or emotional discomfort, that’s not living the righteous life that God wants for us. God has equipped us with the power to choose, so when I choose to allow my body or emotions to drive my thoughts, it’s a choice. I am choosing a bad attitude. And, let’s face it, whenever we are in discomfort or pain, our natural setting is going to be choosing a bad attitude.

If Vicktor Frankl could choose a positive attitude in a concentration camp, then I can choose a positive attitude while dealing with hives. If Paul and Silas could choose a good attitude after being severely flogged and imprisoned, then I can choose to focus on God rather than my problems, no matter how severe they are. I’m not going to do this, though, unless I remember whose I am.

I am not my own: I am God’s. I was bought at a price, and I need to behave like someone who belongs to God, even when I don’t feel like it.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace with her hands over her heart, saying, “U get me.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]