Finishing Your Course With Joy
by Pastor Tammy Mitchell
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Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Single-mindedness is a quality needed by anyone who wishes to do God’s work. Today I began reflecting on how much passion, enthusiasm and energy I had when I first began my Christian race in 1986. It took me some time to realize that God has a unique plan and purpose for all our lives. And that each of us must step up to life with purpose, and vision to fulfill these God given tasks.
Our purpose and life is directly linked to our relationship with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You cannot and will not find your purpose outside of a life committed to Christ. When we make a commitment we become single minded in our focus to that commitment. Whether it’s in marriage, our families, employment or a quest for a healthier lifestyle, we have a single focus.
The Apostle Paul was a man totally devoted to Christ through all situations, seasons, and circumstances. His life reveals his commitment to serving the Lord. He served with humility, with tears and with many trials. I can identify with the apostle Paul; there have been times, when I have had to serve in humility. I wanted to say some things that may have been considered unkind or not “Christian”, but I held my peace. There were other times when I served with tears and great opposition.
Early in my walk with Christ, I went through a period where people tried to make me doubt my identity. I was told many reasons why women could not and should not be a pastor. Being a babe in Christ, I took those issues to the Lord in prayer. And one day the Holy Spirit revealed a passage of scripture to me Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” That forever settled in my heart any concerns I may have had.
Life has not been easy and will at times throw you a curve, storms will come and strong winds may blow, but each of us must decide how we will finish our course. We can live a life full of anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and regret or we can finish our course with Joy. Real joy comes when we are not so consumed with ourselves, but when we can make a difference in the lives of others.
Paul did not count his life dear unto himself. His life was not for him to use and do as he pleased, not for earthly comfort or pleasure. His life was for Christ. His life was a precious and valuable possession of the Lord. Ps 17:8 “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings” Each of us is as the apple of God’s eye and like Paul we have to make the decision to consecrate and dedicate our lives back to the One who gave us life in the first place.
Paul finished his course and ministry not because he had to, but because he chose to. And he did so with joy. Ralph Sockman says “Love is the outreach of self towards completion”. Finish your course with joy. God Loves you and so do I….Pastor Tammy
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