You have done more evil than all who lived before you. (1 Kings 14:9)

SHORTLY AFTER BECOMING A CHRISTIAN I learned about a prominent Canadian evangelist who had kicked over the faith he once proclaimed clearly and forcefully. He embraced atheism, wrote newspaper columns opposing Christianity, and authored the book, Farewell to God. From a Christian perspective he went from hero to zero.

Jeroboam, too, went from hero to zero. King Solomon recognized him as a successful leader, and he appeared to be such a rising star among King Solomon’s officials, that Solomon gave him a big promotion (1 Kings 11:26–28). But Jeroboam rebelled, split the kingdom, built centers of false worship, and therefore received a scathing denouncement from God (2 Kings 14:9).

We can learn from bad examples to be alert to every temptation to turn away from God. Paul mentioned a fellow missionary, Demas, as having deserted him because he loved the world (2 Tim. 4:9). He dropped out of the Christian race and embraced the world’s lifestyle. Whether we are heroes or zeroes in God’s sight depends upon how well we run the race set before us. The race lasts a lifetime, so we must keep our eyes on the goal of finishing well and receiving the crown of righteousness (vv. 7–8).

Life is brief, so the finish line is closer than we might think. This is not the time to give up but the time to run well and finish well.

Run the race to finish well and thereby please the Lord!

Jim Dyet was born in Scotland and grew up in Canada. Married fifty-eight years, he and his wife Gloria live in Colorado Springs, where Jim enjoys golf and daily walks with their dogs.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.