In my quiet time, I’m focusing on one-word for the entire year. As I sought God last December, I wondered if this was His tug on my heart or my wanting to join in with a popular practice. The tug wouldn’t go away. I continued to seek Him until the word “finish” gained traction in my soul.
As my pastor announced the title of his first sermon for 2016, the tug grew stronger. His title was “Partial is Not Enough.” The tug finally won.
Consequently, this year I’m doing a Word study on “finish.” In Greek, “teleo” means to bring to an end, “teleioo” means to complete or perfect” and “sunteleo” means to bring to fulfillment.
You may not have “one-word” for the year. However, you probably have something you are trying “to bring to an end,” “complete or perfect” or “bring to fulfillment.” As we approach Good Friday, my one-word takes on a special meaning. Christ declared “It is finished” (teleo) as He died on the cross.1
When Christ said “It is finished” He answered every requirement for our salvation; but the determination to follow Him must be answered by every heart.
Through my one-word study, I’m learning there are many ways we experience what He finished on the cross. Being forgiven of our sins or finessing through life’s difficulties, are evidence of His truth brushing upon the soul. Although the process is ongoing, the results are life-changing. Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT puts it this way:
“Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.”
Being patient with God’s process is better than being prideful of my progress. It’s rewarding to sense our lives are moving in the right direction. But we can become prideful if we think we’re the only reason for the move. Our growth in God’s grace is measured by more than what we think, see or feel. It is moving us towards conforming to the image of Christ. During His earthly ministry,
He remained in fellowship with the Father – even when His followers were few.2
He remained focused on His purpose – even when it became the most painful.3
He remained compassionate towards people – even when they were cruel to Him.4
And now His Spirit remains in anyone who chooses to be a Christ follower. In order to submit to His finishing touch, is there a prayer we need to pray; a purpose we need to embrace; or a person (or people) we need to love?
Without Christ, my view of life would be limited by the lens of time; instead of being informed by the proper lens of eternity. But when the cares of this life blur my vision of Him, confidence in His process brings clarity:
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6 NIV)
Just three days after Good Friday, we’ll celebrate Resurrection Sunday — the day Jesus rose from the dead. I imagine the first Christ followers thought their progress ended with Him hanging on the cross. But at the empty tomb and Upper Room, they discovered His process was more than they could’ve imagined.5
Even when there isn’t anything we can see or say, here’s some good news: We can trust that The Finisher will carry the good work He began in us to completion. Then we can we progress in His process of having hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way…” – Hebrews 12:2 MSG
- John 19:28-30
- Matthew 26:48-56
- Luke 22:39-44
- Luke 23:33-35
- John 20 and Acts 1:1-8