Friday, February 17, 2023

Orange Moon Friday, February 17, 2023 “The Followthrough of Faith”

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"The Followthrough of Faith"

   In sporting skills, when swinging some form of stick to strike an object, or throwing a ball or other projectile, the followthrough, or finish, is always important.  That is, what happens after the object is thrown or struck has much to do with what occurs before and during the action.  The baseball pitcher, the football quarterback, the basketball shooter, the golfer, the tennis and hockey player all much finish their motion properly in order to best execute the skill of their respective sport.

   This seems counterintuitive.  Why would what happens after the ball or puck has been thrown or contacted have anything to do with its trajectory?  The answer lies in the fact that the finish of the action affects in the mind and body its beginning and execution.  If one plans to properly complete a throw or a swing, the brain acts differently than otherwise, resulting in a rapid fastball, a tight spiral, a perfect free throw, a straight drive, a beautiful backhand, and a winning goal.  The finish thus serves as no less important a factor as the beginning and execution of the strike or the throw.

    The same holds true in terms of spiritual reality.  Executing a proper finish bears great impact on current execution of faith and faithfulness.  The present act of obedience is greatly impacted by our determination to one day join the Apostle Paul in his testimony expressed near the end of his life. "I have finished my course.  I have kept the faith" (II Timothy 4:7).  This raises the question, how do we properly followthrough or finish spiritually?  The writer of Hebrews plainly provides the answer.

    "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:1-3).

   A fixed gaze on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ will lead us to finish well.  That is, we place the entirety of our trust in His faithfulness as the means whereby our own faithfulness flows as the natural - or supernatural - effect of God's grace in our hearts and lives.  "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).  We "followthrough" our  commitment to trust and obey our Heavenly Father by affirming "Christ, the power of God" as the hope for this moment's obedience, and all to come (I Corinthians 1:24).  The Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul unite to confirm this dynamic means of godliness:

    "Without Me, ye can do nothing… I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13).

   I grew up throwing and striking balls (missed the pucks!) without realizing a profound spiritual truth accompanied my actions.  The athlete must followthrough.  Of infinitely greater importance, the believer must do the same by looking to "the Finisher of our faith."  Trusting the Lord Jesus serves as our followthrough, just as He was the originator of our desire and determination to trust and obey God: "the Author… of our faith."  Yes, we determine to obey in response to our Father's Scripturally-declared commands.  We successfully do so by trusting our Savior to provide motivation, leading, and enabling to skillfully throw our hearts and strike a good blow with our spirits by the followthrough of faith…

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
(Philippians 2:12-13)
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."
(II Corinthians 9:8)

Weekly Memory Verse
   I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart.
 (Psalm 119:32)











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