The big beginning is not the end.
Salvation as we know it in the evangelical church is not the end. We have not arrived once we give our lives to Christ. In reality, it’s just barely the beginning. Now it certainly is a BIG beginning and the greatest event, greatest decision, and greatest opportunity even to happen to mankind. But it is still just a starting point.
The ending: That great beginning is so tremendous, and the race so extensive in longevity that it will not be complete until either the coming of Christ or we get called up to meet Him when we die.
So, although I had a supernatural change on Sept.4, 1974, the night I asked our Lord Jesus Christ into my heart, there has been a continual process of seeing myself still in the making. And for sure and certain, I am excited that God is not through with me yet.
Christ is still being formed in me as He is in you. When we move in word (what we say), deed (what we do) or thought (what we are thinking) we do so from the inadequacies of one who is still partially formed, as one who is not fully formed into the image of our Savior and King.
My hope that gives encouragement is that God is more committed to getting me there then I am. He is committed to me being presented to Him as His inheritance, pure, spotless and without blame. Any attempt of mine to get to and maintain this would be the "religion of self" and being holy in my own eyes. But if I do as Paul says and die to self daily then Christ can live His life in and through me. This was what John the Baptist meant when he said that he had to decrease so that Christ would increase.
Galatians 4:19 ESV my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.
Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
So run the race, be faithful, we are all a work in progress.
DON'T GROW WEARY, THIS IS A LONG RACE.
Many believers approach their Christian life like everything is a 100-yard dash to be completed quickly and then on to something else. I have seen it in their approach to Bible studies, Discipleship Training Material, reading the Word, confessing sins with an attempt for quick repentance, and many other disciplines of the faith.
The Christian life however covers three areas. The first of course is basic and it is the starting point. It is important how we start. I know people who prayed prayers but without a heart of faith therefore not having any change of heart or character. We must be sure of our salvation experience. I want to by-pass #2 and go to the third area of importance. We must end right. Too many believers are falling by the way-side and not finishing the race, not keeping the faith, not being steadfast.
The second area of important is one of running the long race. We need to be a people that no matter what we have determined that we are in this thing to the end. I have run a lot in my life. I use to have a running program of 5 miles 3 times a week with an intense exercise program the rest of the week. When I started running I certainly did not start running 5 miles. In fact I would run 1/4 mile and then walk 1/4 mile each day. Then I would add to it. Once I got to 5 miles I not longer wanted to add any more distance but I wanted to add speed each time I ran. In my mid thirties I was quite fast. Then something happened, I quit running. After almost 30 years I recently started walking/running again and I am fining it harder to stay focused as it was in my 30's. It is also much more painful starting again.
What does all this mean spiritually? We need to approach each day in our Christian walk as a long marathon that lasts for years and years and not as a 100-yard dash. Each thing we do should build on another to strengthen us spiritually for the next day.
In this picture I was stationed with the Air Force in Germany in 1974. When I was not working on base I was working in a David Wilkerson Teen Challenge Coffee House witnessing and leading people to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I did not see this as a quick race that would come to a close soon, but a building block to a very long race where I would have the honor and joy of leading thousands to the Lord Jesus Christ in my lifetime. I am at around 8,000 and still looking for thousands more before this race is over.
Galatians 6:9 ESV And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV (13) As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.