Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
When I was growing up, finishing school was common for girls. In fact, my mother owned one. Students learned about appearance, poise, and etiquette. This course of refinement lasted several months. Once graduated, young women were ready for career and social advancement.
Growing up in our faith enrolls us in God's Finishing School. Students learn how they lose by selfishness and how they win by love. A Training Manual is included. This course requires lifetime attendance. Once graduated, saints move up to 'dee-luxe apartments in the sky': Heaven.
The Apostle Paul (a man) calls it a race: 'I have finished the race, I have kept the faith' (2 Timothy 4:7). I (a woman) call it a school. 'Many shall be purified, made white, and refined' (Daniel 12:10). Both a race and a school require persistence, holding the course, and not dropping out. Same thing.
We must listen to our coach: 'But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things' (John 14:26).
We must receive His corrections with thanks, humility, and immediate redirection, 'For whom the Lord loves He corrects' (Proverbs 3:12); 'Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty' (Job 5:17).
We must hold up under pressure: 'Behold, I will refine them and try them' (Jeremiah 9:7). It isn't easy. 'If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me' (Matthew 16:24). The Holy Spirit is the Teacher. God is the Polisher. Jesus is the Finisher. And the reward?
Success. Any way we look at it. A city on a hill. A light on a stage. A smile on the Face of our Director.