Don’t Settle! Keep Going! Resist Doing Things Halfway and Missing Out

We can all be tempted to quit before reaching an intended goal. Today, I encourage you “Don’t settle for where you’re at! Keep on going until you reach the end.”  (Whatever the end may be!)

How many unfinished projects await completion in your home or life—visions, goals or desires that lay dust-covered or moth-eaten in the back corner of the garage or closet? I have my own lingering projects and faded intentions. Initial excitement rose high but time, money or energy waned.

My grand-daughter shared her experiences on a high diving board. At the lowest level, she fearlessly jumped into the water just a few feet below. Bounding back out, she set her sights on the next highest level. With only a slight bit of trepidation, she ran, lept and plunged into the cool pool. Looking up she assessed the risks of the second-highest diving platform. Determinedly, she ascended the steps, building courage as she went. Upon reaching the platform, fear’s grip froze her. She came this far to jump, but couldn’t. Unwilling to back down, she stood for a long time before cautiously approaching the edge peering at the ripples of blue far below. Pushing herself past fear, she stepped off, plummeting into the deep. She did it! She overcame.

Don’t Settle

Have you been there? The scenarios differ but the feelings remain consistent. Did you keep going, or pull back?

I read,

“Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot . . .
his daughter-in-law Sarai . . .
and together they set out from Ur
of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan.
But when they came to Harran,
they settled there.”
Genesis 11:31

Terah gathered his family and left the prosperous Ur of Chaldeans, leaving advanced culture, fertile land with lush gardens and idol worship. Was God directing His steps? Had God given him a vision of Canaan or a word of promise?

Just as we aren’t told the reason for Terah beginning his journey, we aren’t told his reason for stopping. “But,” (that sticky little word) he did. He already passed the halfway point to his intended destination. He already overcame numerable obstacles to reach this point. Why stop here, or now?

We read something even more devastating,

“Terah lived 205 years,
and he died in Harran.”
Genesis 11:32

Where he settled, he died!

Keep Going

Immediately after Terah’s death, God spurs Abram to finish what his father began.

“The LORD had said to Abram,
Go from your country, your people
and your father’s household
to the land I will show you.”
Genesis 12:1

“The LORD had said. . .” Interesting! The LORD doesn’t give some new directive. Yet, after the death of his father, Abram is reminded of something “the LORD had said.” Something about a promise, a great nation and blessing for him and “all peoples of the earth.”

Was the promise originally given to Terah, but he settled too soon? Did Terah settle for halfway obedience or halfhearted effort? Would Terah have been the one to receive the promise if he would have continued?

No one knows.

Obviously, God reminds Abraham these years later of something previously spoken. A promise only fulfilled through total obedience and all-out energy. “Leave it all!” God said, “Finish the journey!”

Faith or Fear

Both Terah and his son Abram said, “Yes,” to God. Both had faith to start the journey. One settled halfway; one finished.

What stops us halfway? What is our “but?”

My granddaughter almost stopped short with tangible, even palpable,fear. My fears hide more subtly in the shadows of denial.

I have learned, however, that whenever there is a hesitation to move into God’s destiny for me, even containing a promise written long ago, fear birthed my pause. The pit of hesitation bears many names: doubt, indecision, procrastination, reluctance, vacillation, or just plain unwillingness to take one more step. “But . . . “

Jesus reached out His hand to a sinking Peter,

“You of little faith,” he said,
“why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:31

Faith and fear never co-exist. Hope sinks in the weight of doubt. Perhaps like Peter, Terah started in faith, but halfway to the promise doubt crept in and he settled into death’s hold.

Fear overtook Elijah after the great victory on Mt. Carmel (1 Kgs 18-19). As a result, his ministry died and his mantle was passed to another.

Halfway

Paul refused to take Mark along,

“Barnabas wanted to take John,
also called Mark, with them,
but Paul did not think it wise to take him,
because he had deserted them in Pamphylia
and had not continued with them in the work.”
Acts 15:37-38

A powerful man, co-laboring with Paul for the work of the kingdom, quit. He “deserted them.” Ouch! That stings. At times, I’ve deserted halfway; other times, I’ve quit too soon.

Fortunately, years later another opportunity came for Mark to join Paul. Often where we quit, like Terah, we die. Vision dies; purpose dies; hope dies; promise dies; faith dies. We may live, but inside something is missing and lost forever.

Keep going! Don’t quit yet!

Love is the Answer

After Jesus’ death, he faced Peter in a soul-searching confrontation.

“Simon son of John, do you love
me more than these?”
John 21:15

“Do you love Me enough to leave your father, your family, your friends, your business, and your inheritance?”

“Simon son of John,
do you love me?”
John 21:16

“Peter, there will be no settling or going back to where you came from. Do you love me enough for that?”

Simon son of John,
do you love me?”
John 21:17

When we stand at the crossroads between settling halfway or reaching the finish, that is the question that matters. Where is love focused? Do we, do I, love Jesus enough to keep going, to not quit or settle. Love remains the critical ingredient necessary for faith to sustain and persevere.

“There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18

To the Finish

We all face walls of doubt and fear. When there seems no way through, around or over, we settle. A graveyard of “What ifs?” spreads out in front of the barrier.

Like Abram, we need to remember again what “the LORD had said,” stirring faith to move again, to restart the journey, and un-pause our vision. Abram went miles beyond his father, seeing what his father failed to see.

“There he built an altar to the LORD
and called on the name of the LORD.”
Genesis 12:8

‘Called’ doesn’t refer to private prayer. Rather, when Abram ‘called on the name of the LORD,’ he was making a public declaration, preaching and proclaiming the faithfulness and greatness of Yahweh, the LORD God.

Abram kept going—unstoppable until God said stop. He lived to see the land that his ancestors would one day possess. He created a platform of declaration to others of the power of God to see us through to the end.

May I encourage us both, “Don’t settle! Keep going!” Let’s resist doing things halfway and missing out on what God has promised.

How to Finish Well No Matter Where We Start From

Finish Well

Finishing well is a life focus of mine. We all begin the journey at varying points; some people appear to have a healthy head start, while others must climb up a long way before they can proceed. The question is, “How can we finish well no matter where we start from?”

This morning I was reading:

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?…
After beginning by means of the Spirit,
are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”
Galatians 3: 1-3

This may seem a little harsh, but it hit the mark in me! I have been on an incredible faith journey lately. In the beginning the indescribable intervention of God’s hand carried me along the often bumpy road. Now, I find my heart and mind

sometimes questioning
then second-guessing
and for moments even doubting.

How can I so easily be set off course? No! I haven’t jumped the rails of faith or drifted from by beliefs. Yes! I am faithfully walking faithlessly. Let me explain! I have the faith to continue the journey without faltering; yet, I lack the faith of wholeheartedly surrender. As such, I’m robbed of the wonderful joy and boundless freedom that comes with real.

 

Freedom

Set the Goal

Years ago on the farm (before GPS), I knew that to make a perfect cut down a field I would have to fix my eyes steadily on a “target” at the far side. If ever I looked around or back, my trajectory would be off course and quick readjustment would have to be made.

The same goes for my spiritual walk. To finish well requires that I set specific life goals. These are focal points to constantly be aiming toward – goals for my personal life, marriage, family, and ministry to name just a few.

An Audience of One

There are as many views as there are people; these view points will inevitably side track me.

Disagree

“You can please some of the people some of the time,
all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time,
but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”
Abraham Lincoln

I will ultimately give an answer for my life to only One; the One who made me according to His perfect plan. The question will be, “Have I fulfilled all that God had in mind when He designed and gifted me?”

I will ultimately give an answer for my life to only One! Click To Tweet

Loving Well

Loving well has been, beyond any other, my greatest life challenge! Jesus said,

“If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?
Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.”

Matthew 5:46

Even the most corrupt influences within society form strong allegiances with each other!

Am I able to fully love whoever God puts in my path? My answer is continually, “No.”

I don’t love the
abusers the same as the abused
the traffickers like the trafficked
the haters as those hated or
the judgmental in comparison to the judged!

Love

The Saviour’s love for all kept him on the cross! His blood was shed for all equally! His love reaches the lowest level to raise to the despairing to the highest heights!

Each of these areas requires a faith beyond my human comprehension. Faith is the only way I will be able to set and achieve my life goals, keeping my eyes steadily on the approval of Jesus and loving wholly.

To finish well no matter where we start from, is a continuous walk of faithwholeheartedly, joyfully, completely relying on Jesus the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith.

Eyes on Jesus

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,
the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross,
disregarding its shame.
Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
Hebrews 12:2

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