There are six key practices that, if followed throughout life, lead to finishing well. The six are further classified as Being, Knowing and Doing. Let’s start with Being.
If you want to finish well, you must have Loving Jesus more than avoiding sin as your focus. As Hebrews 12 says, does my desire to know Jesus exceed all other aspirations? It is true that what you seek will determine what you find?
The second characteristic of someone that finishes well is Fidelity in the spiritual disciplines of Bible study and prayer each day. Effectiveness in the end of life is related to how much time you spend in the word. You will become shallow without it. Communicating with God is the only way to keep your focus on the goodness of God.
You need to view every circumstance in the light of God’s unchanging character rather than looking at God’s character in the light of changing circumstances. God’s character never changes so it is logical to make him the heart of your character. God’s character is the crucible of adversity. Comfort others with the comfort that you have been given.
I believe the number one reason some don’t finish well is their inability to learn. Being teachable, humble and having an obedient spirit is what God calls all of us to and that becomes more difficult the older we are. The key to humility is realizing all of life is a gift and grace, not trying to be humble but being responsive to the initiative of the Holly Spirit.
As we age, we tend to lose our focus and purpose. I have discovered in my practice that most retire to travel, golf and simple pleasures. They tend to give up establishing a new purpose in life. Until we die, God calls us to His plan for us. We need to ask the question, why am I here? Our calling by God transcends our careers. What do I need to do to honor God?
In order to finish well, we need to have healthy and resourceful relationships. We need spiritual friendships and guidance. God will bring people into our lives and us into other’s lives. God calls us to servant leadership in the same way the David served in the Old Testament.
Christ gave us his life for us. So He could give His life to us. So that He could live His life through us. We are to take what He gives us and give it away. We are all ministers to others and should not be shy. As we age, more will listen to why we are happy in the Lord.
The barriers to us finishing well are our disobedience and infidelity. We must pursue the treasure in the field at all times as Jesus explained. Some believe that when they retire they are done pursuing anything. Until we die, God has a plan for us.
When my father died two years ago, my siblings and my mother sat outside his room at the assisted living facility. A 90-year-old woman in an electric wheelchair pulled up to my mom and faced her. She spent fifteen minutes sharing how my father talked about my mom and praised her. She spent that time encouraging my mother and loving her. I was so impressed that the next day I visited the assisted care so that I could thank her. I met her on the patio of the center and told her that she acted yesterday in the same way Jesus would. She said, “I know.” She was finishing well!
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