MANY LIVE WELL INTENTIONED LIVES… BUT FEW HAVE FINISHED WELL.
FINISHING WELL is about BEHAVIOR. It’s about a life that seeks alignment with Christ. It involves translating what we say and know to be true, into daily life, and an ongoing lifestyle.
This new BLOG SERIES seeks to better define the phrase FINISHING WELL, as well as examine those issues that hold a Christ-follower back from FINISHING WELL, and the behaviors that help contribute to a life that FINISHES WELL. Last time we sought to define what it means to FINISH WELL.
BLOG #2: BARRIERS TO FINISHING WELL
With so few leaders finishing well, the logical question is…“WHY?” Why do only one in three finish well?
Failure to finish well is rarely the result of ONE choice, but the by-product of small, incremental steps of failure. The beginnings of the end often appear at a time when Christ-followers and leaders have become “proficient” in the faith and ministry.
The DANGER ZONE occurs when well-meaning Christ-followers, who have learned to be good Church attenders, grow restless. They know how to teach Bible studies, how to lead a good meeting, they perform what’s expected, say the right things, preach a decent sermon, and “do” the tasks of ministry. But deep inside, a hunger grows.
In the early years of faith, God chases each of us, and set His love upon us (Psalm 91:14). At some point in the journey, as God calls his followers deeper, to be the chasers of Him. It’s a call to move deeper and go to new places in their intimacy with Him. (Jeremiah 29:11-14) This often means deeper dependency and trust, along with re-visiting past issues of wounding and questions that have remained unanswered to date.
God uses those times to enlarge the soul to create new space for Himself. St. John of the Cross referred to this as the “Dark Night of the Soul.” But, instead of going deeper, and moving toward God, some Christ-followers begin to move away. And in His place, Christ-followers medicate. They turn to other sources to appease the deeper hunger; sources related to power, position, prestige and people.
Dr. J. Robert Clinton, former Professor at Fuller Seminary, had studied the lives of those who did not finish well and discovered a series of barriers. His findings, mixed together with the coaching of Terry Walling, provides a series of nine barriers to FINISHING WELL.
For our purposes we have categorized these nine barriers into three group. Each barrier is a potential obstacle to staying the course and FINISHING WELL.
1. Self-centeredness and pride … Like what we saw with Solomon (1 Kings 6-7).
2. Problems with marriage, home and family – Like what we saw with David (2 Samuel 15-18).
3. Past emotional wounding and pathology – Like the struggles of Jonah (Jonah 4).
4. Sexual immorality – Like what befell Samson (Judges 13-16).
5. Misuse and abuse of finances – Like what we saw with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)
6. Abuse of authority and power – Like what ate away at Saul (1 Samuel 18-19)
7. Plateau and arrested growth/development – Like that of Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:18-20)
8. Loss of Bible-centeredness – Like Paul’s warning to Timothy – (2 Timothy 2:14-18)
9 Transitions and times in-between – Like the changes Peter and Paul faced (Acts 9-10).
So, what does this bring to the surface for YOU?
How is your current journey with Christ? What does small, incremental steps say to your current behavior?
Is there any eroding of your relationship with Him; a relationship that once burned deep within? Could it be that in the end, you actually might be headed to becoming a statistic? At some point, this tide must change. Why not now?
FINISHING WELL will involve living out a series of intentional choices. NEXT BLOG: CHOICES you can make to stay the course… and FINISH WELL.
© Terry Walling 2013