Do you know what the key to “finishing well” in this life is?
It’s not starting well… many people have a very rocky start, but through faith and hard work they somehow finish amazingly. Others may have had a great upbringing, but through poor decisions or bad reactions to life’s difficulties- they just barely make it through life, only to reach the end with nothing to show for it.
So, again I ask- What is the key to finishing well?
Here’s my 2 cents… I say the key(s) to having a wonderful end to your life’s story is to:
1. Wake up every morning with the resolve to stay focused on Christ and have the right perspective regarding the work He has for you to do. (“Work” meaning everything in this life that you are called to do/be that honors His name- everything from family, jobs, ministry, personal growth, etc.).
2. Go to bed every night with gratitude in your heart regardless of circumstances. You don’t have to be happy with a situation to be thankful that you have a God who’s in charge of it and will see you through it. It’s all about perspective.
3. Always be truly repentant when you miss God’s mark and forgive yourself when you stumble and fall. We all mess up and only Satan wants to keep reminding us of our shortcomings. God forgives and forgets… we bind our own feet when we refuse to forgive ourselves.
It all boils down to baby steps: every day, every decision, and every heartbeat. It’s about being on your guard against anything that even resembles sin because it truly is a slow fade from a harmless allowance to a grief-stricken road because of bad choices.
Baby steps… every morning staying focused, every night being thankful, every breath- one of repentance and forgiveness.
King Solomon, in the Old Testament, had a fantastic start… He prayed for wisdom to rule God’s people with discernment and understanding; God granted that and so much more! Solomon was the wisest, richest, and overall- most popular guy on the planet at the time. However, a downfall was inevitable because he simply became too careless. Solomon had over 700 wives and 300 concubines! I’m thinking that’s a perfect example of getting a little carried away. Holy crow that’s a lot of names to remember!! (Or not- probably not). The problem with Solomon’s overwhelming obsession with matrimony was that he married foreign women who brought with them their foreign gods. He no longer had an undivided devotion to Jehovah; he was trapped in worldly pleasures, lusts, and idolatry.
Solomon did not wake up one morning, deciding that he would disobey God and render his many life accomplishments worthless. It was one, seemingly harmless decision that led to another, and another, and so on.
Oh, if he had only held tightly to his roots and continued to faithfully follow hard after God- his end would have been worthy of his honorable beginning. Sadly though, his tattered finish was a far cry from the heartfelt prayer at the beginning of his journey…
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:7-9)
Having a life worthy of remembrance doesn’t come by simply surviving, hoping for the best, and just trying to stay out of trouble. Every believer wants to get to the end of their life and feel at peace, knowing that they did everything they could to stay close to Christ and do the work/love the people that He planned for their days.
The keys are in the baby steps… one day at a time.