What It Means To “Finish Well”

finish-line

Consider the following… (Adapted from material by Robert J. Clinton)

  • 500 leaders in the Bible
  • 100 leaders with life information
  • 49 with information on how they finished
  • 13 finished well (26%!)

What Does It Mean To Finish Well?

  1. Personal, vibrant relationship with God; intimacy leading to responsive obedience
  2. Learning rather than plateauing/stagnating
  3. Christ-like character; evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit
  4. Maintaining conviction re: God’s truth and living it out
  5. Accomplishing God’s purposes; knowing God is with you and for you.
  6. Sense of destiny – Believing that God will do what He said He would do

Seven Barriers To Finishing Well:

  1. Misuse or abuse of money
  2. Sexual mis-conduct (90% of pastors involved in this start with a counseling relationship)
  3. Abuse of power
  4. Pride; self-centered ambition
  5. Excessive family problems – wife &/or kids
  6. Plateau: recycle things we’ve learned as well as in spiritual life because of being busy with “ministry”; lack of spiritual depth because we’re focused on success – recognize it and do something about it!
  7. Emotional &/or psychological wounding

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever…” (Hebrews 12:2 – The Message)

Six Essentials of Proactive Living

These are not exhaustive; this is not a formula

  1. Life Purpose: Sharpening your focus

“So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow-boxing or playing around.”   1 Corinthians 9:26 (TLB)

  • For David… served the purpose of God in his own generation…and then he died.”     Acts 13:36 (NIV)
  • “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby… Find out what God is doing – and put your hand to that.
  1. Perspective: God develops people over a life-time

“Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. [16] Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things…”   1 Timothy 4:15-16a (NAS)

  1. Personal Renewal: Regular experiences with God

“Now change your mind and attitude to God and turn to him so he can cleanse away your sins and send you wonderful times of refreshment from the presence of the Lord.”   Acts 3:19 (TLB)

  • What’s a one-word synonym for the phrase, “change your mind and attitude to God and turn to him”? Repentance
  • The privilege of repentance
  • Repentance ushers in the active, vital presence of God!
  1. Spiritual Disciplines: Activating grace

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all [people], [12] instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” Titus 2:11-12 (NAS)

  • What is it that instructs us to deny ungodliness & worldly desires — & [empowers us] to live sensibly, righteously, & godly in this present age?
  • For many people, we fall into the trap of trying to exercise willpower instead of grace – “I’m going to love my wife, even if it kills me!” (What’s it going to do?); “I’m going to lose 10 pounds even if it kills me!” (What’s it going to do?)
  • So how do we activate grace over-and-above willpower (it’s not that willpower is bad, it’s that grace is better! Willpower, or self-control is a fruit of the Spirit)…Here’s the answer – you’re not going to like it…SURRENDER. When we surrender, the grace of God comes and does in us and through us what we could never do on our own My wife needs and deserves a better husband than I can be.  My kids need, and deserve a better Dad than I can be.
  • Those of us in Recovery – who are working the steps — understand this better than most of the rest of you – The first step of the 12 Steps is what? …Admitting that I am powerless
  • Do you want to know why the Recovery Movement has been so successful over the last several years (at least in Christian circles)? Because it begins with activating GRACE
  • If you are here today and you have never admitted that you are powerless – and if you have never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life, you can activate the grace of God – to do in you and through you what you could never do on your own – today by…
  1. Lifelong Learner: Commitment to personal growth

“God’s works are so great, worth a lifetime of study—endless enjoyment!” Psalm 111:2 (The Message)

  1. Mentoring relationships: Staying connected

“Strategic planning is the key to warfare; to win, you need a lot of good counsel.”   Proverbs 24:6 (The Message)

Conclusion

  1. William Cary went to India from England in 1793. The leadership from his church would not support him – they told him, “If God wants to convert India, He’ll do it with no help from you.”

He saw no converts for 5 1/2 years.

  • He said, “When I left England, my hope for India’s conversion was very strong.” (The hope for whose conversion? India’s?)
  • He expected a whole nation to be converted to Christ
  • 5 1/2 years – no converts

“But amongst so many obstacles, it would die, this hope – unless upheld by God. Well I have God, and His word is truth. And though superstitions of the unconverted were a thousand times stronger then they were, though I were deserted by all and persecuted by all, yet my faith fixed on that sure word would rise above all obstructions and overcome every trial – God’s cause shall triumph. The work to which God has set His hand will infallibly prosper; Christ has begun to besiege this ancient and strong fortress and will assuredly carry it out. Christ must reign until Satan has not one inch of territory left.”

5 1/2 years with no converts…But when William Cary died:

  • He’d planted 26 churches
  • Translated the Bible into 34 languages
  • Established a Bible college
  • Trained 200 nationals
  • 40 other families had joined him fm. England & America

Why? Because he possessed a focus, a passion, and a vision…What about you?

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