Last year, I had the privilege of celebrating my Grandparent’s 64th anniversary. 64 years! Can you imagine? They have been married almost twice as long as I have been alive! It seems like such a rarity these days, to find two individuals holding to the vows of “til death do us part.” As we celebrated, I marveled at this richness, realizing these sacred moments are not commonly experienced. It was a treasure worth beholding.
I am thankful for examples of commitment like my grandparents, because they have modeled to me the importance, power, and reward of faithfully completing that which was started. It is so easy to get derailed by distractions and obstacles. They threaten to sideline us and obscure our goal, often leaving us exhausted, injured, and unmotivated to finish our race. My grandparent’s life was not always sunshine and roses. They encountered trials and heartache, but they stayed the course and are now beautifully finishing the race.
If you want to have a successful marriage, business, ministry, education, career—whatever it may be—you must stay committed to the ultimate goal and committed to integrity. It is a matter of mental fortitude and grit. Often the biggest thwarters of our success stem from the battleground within our own mind. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” It is in our mind that our hearts are either infused with truth or destroyed by lies. If there is a vision, dream, or goal God has cultivated in your heart, your mind has the power to grow it or squelch it. You must identify the goal, the vision, or calling God has placed on your heart. Maybe it is to finish school, become a mom, help your husband more, or volunteer for something at church. You must first identify what this goal is, call it out, discern if it is God given and then… chase after it. If you fail to identify your goal, the vision becomes mucky making it that much harder to cling to truth and stay on course. On the contrary, when you acknowledge that God is partnering with you in this goal, you can make efforts to renew your mind with truth so you can better chase the dream.
Driven people, striving towards success will often do whatever it takes to get the job done. It is essential to make the necessary sacrifices and step up to the grueling demands required to get the task completed. Success does not passively occur—it is an active process often demanding time, energy, and risk that you didn’t initially anticipate. If you are deciding to go back to school, you may not get the class at the time you need, you may be paying more than you originally anticipated. You may have to rearrange work or home schedules in order to fit it in. If you are making a career change, you may have to temporary take lower pay than you had hoped, you may have to travel when you didn’t want, you may have a more inconvenient commute. Successful people are able to stay determined and adaptable to the unforeseen challenges that come their way.
Although, a successful person will do what it takes to finish the race strong, they must never, ever elevate success at the expense of compromising integrity. “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Matthew 16:26. Many people will strive towards success—full of willpower and resolve—but many will do this at the cost their own integrity. They will choose the career over their marriage, financially advance through a lie, or forget a promise as they shake on a new deal.
King Solomon was raised to power by God to carry on the Davidic lineage and Kingdom. God granted wisdom and great wealth to Solomon, and although Solomon remained dedicated and driven to the temple, he began to lose focus. God had told Solomon not to intermarry with other woman of other religions who would pull him away from worshiping Him, the true God. But Solomon became distracted and prideful, losing sight of God’s command. Soon he would marry multiple woman and begin worshipping false gods. 1 Kings 11:9-11, “ The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.’ King Solomon gained what he thought was wisdom, power, and love but it was all for naught. In his attempts to be successful, he morally fell and lost all that he worked so hard to obtain.
As you cultivate the vision and goals that God has birthed in you, run your race with integrity and commitment. Listen to God coach you as you renew your mind with His truths so as not to lose sight of the finish line. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith,” Hebrews 12:1-2.