2Timothy 4:6-7 NIV: For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. (7) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Here Paul tells us that He has finished the race: the time had come for him to leave the earth. He had finished well.
The Christian life is a race (Heb. 12:1): a life-long marathon obstacle race, not a hundred-meter dash!
Now, it takes stamina and consistency to finish a marathon race and in the natural you develop stamina by practice. Similarly, in the spiritual race of life you develop stamina by practice or exercise of godliness (1 Tim. 4:7-8).
It is one thing to finish; another to finish well.
The Christian life starts with the new birth and ends with long-life (Ps. 91:16) in the perfection and fullness of Christ.
To finish well is to live long enough to grow (Eph. 4:15) into and experience the perfection and fullness of Christ.
Many people never even start the race: they do not get born-again because they ignore the call of God to them through their conscience:
Romans 1:18-20 MKJV: For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) because the thing which may be known of God is clearly revealed within them, for God revealed it to them. (20) For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse.
When God sees that a man is honest in his heart and begins to seek God in his heart because of the evidence of God seen in creation, God will cause the gospel of Jesus Christ to be preached to him to get him born-again.
Jeremiah 29:13 MKJV: And you shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Romans 10:12-15 MKJV: For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call on Him. (13) For everyone, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (14) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without preaching? (15) And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”
So, some do not even start: they do not get born-again.
Others start but do not finish well: either they die prematurely because of a lack of revelation knowledge before they can grow into the perfection and fullness of Christ:
Hosea 4:6 MKJV: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priest to Me. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your sons, even I.
1Corinthians 5:5 MKJV: to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Or they do not grow spiritually enough to experience the perfection and fullness of Christ and so suffer loss of destiny:
1Corinthians 3:11-15 NIV: For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, (13) his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. (14) If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. (15) If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Now, it is God’s perfect will that we finish well: live long enough to grow spiritually into the perfection and fullness of Christ and so fulfill the fullness of our divine destiny.
We finish well by faith, patience (consistency in practicing God’s Word by the blood (1 Jn. 1:7-10, Heb. 13:20-21), the Word (1 Jn. 2:5) and Spirit (1Jn. 4:12-18)) and loyalty to the spiritual fathers (Ruth. 1:16-17) God puts us under.
For example, Caleb (like Ruth, Jehoiada, Esther and many others) finished well by faith, patience and loyalty to both Moses and Joshua:
Joshua 14:6-14 NIV: Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. (7) I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, (8) but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. (9) So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.’ (10) “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! (11) I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. (12) Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (13) Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. (14) So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.
Contrastly, Joab did not finish well, though he had faith and patience and won many battles for David and in particular captured Jerusalem (1 Chr. 11:6); but later he was disloyal to David and Solomon (1 Kings. 1:5-8); he was executed (1 Kings.2:28-34) and was never listed among the mighty men of David (2 Sam. 23:8-39).
So to finish well: living long in good health and wealth and fulfilling our divine destiny, we should obey and serve God by faith, patience and loyalty:
Hebrews 6:12 MKJV: that you be not slothful, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Job 36:11 NIV: If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.