“…Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5b NLT
As I have been reading through the scriptures this spring, one thing has continued to jump off of the pages at me. That is that some people in scripture lived a season or seasons of their lives dedicated to the things of the Lord, but somewhere along the way, they got distracted, life got comfortable, and they did not manage to finish well. In other words for a large portion of their life, they lived whole heartedly for the glory of the Lord, but scripture shows at some point in their life, the Lord’s will was no longer being accomplished through them.
Let’s look at a few of these people:
- Moses faithfully led God’s people through the desert for 40 years. Scripture says (Numbers 12) that Moses was the most humble man on the earth, the Lord spoke to him face to face, clearly, and that Moses saw the form of the Lord. However, Moses was only allowed to view the Promised Land from a distance and was not allowed to enter.
- God spoke to the potential he had placed inside of Gideon by calling him a mighty warrior. Gideon doubted in fear and insecurity, but eventually rose to the occasion and fearlessly destroyed the altar of Baal, and led the Israelites into deliverance from the Midianites. Gideon lived strongly for the Lord in a season of his life. Unfortunately, we see at the end of his story he actually lead the people to “whore” after other things. (Judges 6 – 8 )
- David was declared a man after God’s own heart. David honored king Saul despite all of Saul’s shortcomings and insanity. David refused to kill King Saul. David lived honorably before the Lord for many years. But we eventually see his affair with Bathsheba and the downward spiral from there. Yes, David repented and received grace and mercy. But things were never the same for him. His reputation and his relationship with his kids was never the same. (2 Samuel 12 – 16)
I could share many instances from scripture where people started strong for the Lord but failed to finish well. The stories of these characters through out the bible remind us of our imperfections, how fast we can fall, and just how desperate we are for the Lord’s leadership in our lives. Yes we will all fall and fail along the way. Where there is humility, confession, and repentance there will be grace, mercy, forgiveness, and hope.
These stories also show us how to avoid lots of screw-ups along the way. They show us what to avoid so that you and I can finish well. You can finish well. The Lord wants us to finish well. He wants us to succeed for his glory and his purposes. Jesus finished well and Paul finished well. Many others in scripture finished well.
Through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit we can live whole-heartedly for the Lord through out our lifetime. They key to finishing well is to remain in the Lord.
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 NLT