Christian, finish what you start

Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian

There’s book I’ve been trying to read for about three years, The Doctrine of Sin by Iain D. Campbell. It’s a book I actually do need to finish if I’m ever going to complete a course I started some time ago. It was supposed to take about eight months.

I’m going on about three years.

To give you some context, here are a few things I’ve done since starting the course. I’ve:

  • written two books of my own;
  • read over three hundred other books;
  • written about a thousand articles on this blog;
  • sold a house; and
  • added two children to our family!

And yet I can’t seem to get this book done, along with a few others so I can finish my course.

What’s the deal?

It’s not like the book’s content isn’t interesting (even if the writing is a little dry). And it’s not as though I don’t understand the importance of reading the book. Partly, it’s taken so long is that life has a habit of getting in the way. The needs of my job and my family necessarily take precedence.

However, much of it comes down to a lack of discipline.

Because I don’t have a hard deadline to complete this course, it winds up taking the back burner more often than it should. I let the “urgent” and the shiny new things get in the way.

But I really want—no, I really need—to get this course done, which means I’ve got seven books to read:

  1. The Person of Christ by Donald Macleod
  2. The Church by Edmund P. Clowney
  3. The Holy Spirit by Sinclair Ferguson
  4. Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Jeffery, Ovey and Sach
  5. The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper by Robert Bruce
  6. The Doctrine of Sin by Iain D. Campbell
  7. The Promise of the Future by Cornelius P. Venema

Finishing what we start—honoring our commitments—is something we should all be striving for as Christians. While a course like this may not seem like that big a deal, we have to be careful to avoid cultivating a habit of not honoring commitments, whether big or small. Doing so only hurts our testimony and our reputation.

So here’s what I’m doing: over the next several weeks, I’m getting this course done.

I may even review them here since part of the course is writing an evaluation of the book.

By God’s grace, I’m going to get it finished before the end of June. That’s roughly 18 weeks—and then my commitment will be honored.

Do you have any outstanding commitments you’ve yet to honor? What thing have you started that remains unfinished—and what’s your strategy for completing it?

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