"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish" (Luke 14:28-30).
Jesus spoke these words near the close of his ministry on earth with the purpose of warning followers that good intentions would not be enough to see them through hard times. Many followers 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 drift away, and become cold and indifferent to him. He laid a foundation but could not finish, because he did not first count the cost. He ran out of resources; he went so far and then quit.
God, wake us up and make us to understand that we are all changing. There is no such thing as standing still; you are either changing daily into Christ's image or you are changing back into your old carnal ways. For those who have determined to lay hold of Christ at all cost, who are taking up their cross, denying self, and going on with him, Paul said, "We are all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord"' (2 Corinthians 3:18).
What a joy to meet these 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 increasingly heavenly minded. Their spiritual senses are highly exercised and their discernment of what is of God or the flesh is ever increasing. The older they get, the hungrier they are for more of Christ. They cut away all earthly attachments and with growing intensity, they long to be with him in his glory. For them, to die is gain and the ultimate prize is to be called into his presence to be at his side forever. It is not heaven they seek but Christ in glory!
You can be sure that when Christ returns, he will have a glorious church eager to be with him. It will consist of those who have become so unattached to this world and so united with him that moving from the corruptible to the incorruptible state 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 let you lie down by the track, exhausted, crippled. He will lift up your weakened knees and give you supernatural strength to finish.
He will not fail you. By grace, you are going to finish the race and the Lord will be at the finish line to say, “Well done!”