Let’s make this clear. There are only two parts with which we can refer to as the BEST parts of the Christian journey: The Beginning and The End.
There may be other words used to describe the in between and the journey itself but BEST will NEVER be it.
Why beginning? This is the moment the veil was lifted from our hearts. That time when we saw the true beauty of Jesus Christ and His atonement for our sins. When we saw the victory of the Cross and beheld Christ in His glory and splendour and His Holy Spirit made our hearts His home. When we truly realised, ‘IT IS FINISHED!’ and stepped into real freedom.
This is why David pleaded earnestly after sinning in Psalm 51 for the joy of His salvation to be restored and for the Holy Spirit to not be taken away from Him.
This is why Jesus calls out the Church in Ephesus to return to their first works like they first believed and how they loved Him passionately even though they were still religious by all appearances. Their real zeal, their love for Christ had dwindled (Revelation 2:1-7).
Similarly, Paul called out the Galatian Churches who when they were first saved were filled with so much joy that they were willing to give him their own eyes but were now trying to sustain the Spirit’s work with works of the flesh!
Those early days of salvation, we are not concerned about working for God or our service/ ministries. We are filled with unadulterated, undistracted love for our dear Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is joy all around, joy, joy joy.
This is why at the moment of salvation, some have felt the strong desire to depart and be with Christ. They are completely disillusioned with this world and its enticements and want nothing else but Jesus Christ and Him alone forever.
As the writer of the hymn, Amazing Grace, says, ‘How precious did that Grace appear, the hour I first believed’.
The other best part of our Christian journey is the end and before we consider why, let’s touch briefly on the journey itself, the in-between and why it is certainly not best.
At the end of his life, Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…’
The journey itself, the in-between is a fight. Back to back fight. The only time we stop fighting is when our birth ceases and as mere flesh and blood who are battling with principalities, powers and spiritual wickednesses in high places, we simply cannot afford to lay any part of the whole armour of God down knowing that our adversary, the devil, goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom to devour.
We must not be discouraged about this fight though. It is why God has made it clear to us in His Word and given us His very own armour t fight with (Ephesians 6).
The battles make the end all the more sweeter. The Holy Spirit’s comfort during these fight times increase our fellowship, communion and dependence on Him.
It is not a strange, unusual or pitiful thing to face trials, temptations, and hard times as a Christian (1 Peter 4:12). It is a strange, unusual and pitiful thing NOT to!
This is why we are told in Hebrews 12: 1-2 to run with endurance while we look unto Jesus who is the Author (Beginning) and Finisher (End) of our faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.
The end of our journey – finally meeting Jesus face to face and entering His eternal rest – is the joy set before us.
Paul went on to say HENCEFORTH (meaning forever and ever), ‘there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness…’ No longer the whole armour of God for battle but now a Crown of Righteousness for Victory.
If there is no end to look forward to, if there is no hope at the end, our religion is a complete waste of time and punishment to ourselves when we might as well drink, party and enjoy the life out of the world.
YOLO as they say but for the true Christian, we do not live once. We live forever and this short journey of transition into eternal life makes whatever comes our way worth the bearing while we look into Jesus with hope for the end.
This is why perseverance is such a big theme in Scripture. This is why Paul prayed that after he has preached to others, he would not be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27).
If God did not know the end from our beginning and how the end renders any temporary affliction as nothing in light of eternity, He would not urge us to persevere.
It is like when you’re watching a movie with a friend which you’ve seen before and urging them to watch until the end even though the in-between seems boring and pointless. Same as in reading a book which you urge people to ensure they finish.
The very best books get better at the end in those last lines where the whole mystery is revealed (Book Recommendation for this point is ‘Where The Crawdads Lie’. I digress.)
The Bible itself saves the best for the last in the book of Revelation where Jesus tells us of things to come which we await with eager expectation: The New Heaven and The New Earth. The Culmination of History which we are nothing but a minor part of.
As Vodie Baucham said, ‘the only way you are living your best life now is if you are going to hell.’
Do you feel weary, Christian? Is the journey dreary, slow, confusing and filled with seemingly unending battles? Do you wonder whether the life you deny yourself in this world is worth it when everyone and everything around you says, ‘YOLO’?
Consider The End.