“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’” (Luke 14:28-30 NKJV)?
Jesus spoke these words near the close of his ministry on earth to warn followers that good intentions wouldn’t be enough to see them through hard times. Many would not have what it took to finish the race!
I believe the most tragic condition possible is starting out fully intending to lay hold of Christ and grow into a mature disciple, and instead slowly drifting away and becoming cold and indifferent to him.
God, help us understand that we are always changing; we are either changing daily into Christ's image or we are changing back into our old, carnal ways. Paul said to those who have determined to lay hold of Christ at any cost, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
What a joy to meet those who are finishing the race. They are growing in the wisdom and knowledge of Christ, becoming more distant from this world and its pleasures, and becoming more heavenly-minded. Their spiritual senses are highly exercised, and their discernment of what is of God and what is of the flesh is ever-increasing. They are cutting away all earthly attachments. With growing intensity, they long to be with him.
You can be sure that when Christ returns, he will have a glorious church. It will be made up of those who have become so unattached to this world that moving from the corruptible to the incorruptible will be but one last love step into his presence.
You may have fallen down in the Christian race, but you can get up and run again. Jesus will not fail you. He will not let you lie down by the track, exhausted and broken. He will lift your weakened knees and give you his supernatural strength. He will be there at the finish line to say, “Well done!”