70% of all leaders will not finish well. J. Robert Clinton
It's not sexy. It really doesn't sell anything. I don't think Beyonce will ever write a song about it. I am most certain Donald Trump will have an opinion about it. Most people who are successful at this are never noticed, most often disrespected by those who want to continue in their wrongdoing and secretly envied by almost everyone. What am I talking about?
Accountability. Finishing well.
God longs for us to embrace accountability and finish well. There's no doubt about it. I believe God wants us to be effective Spirit-filled leaders that pave the way for unprecedented success. The Bible is filled with story after story about how to be successful both here and now and in the hereafter. There are narrative outlines for leaders, administrators, and government officials in Genesis and throughout most of Paul's letters to local churches. God provides line by line 'how-to's' on being successful in both the Old and New Testaments from Leviticus to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters five through seven. The book of Proverbs clearly outlines how to make wise decisions personally and professionally. Overall success is often the secondary benefit of being an effective accountable leader in the Kingdom of God. God longs for us to have a good life. But, sadly many people never experience the exhilarating fullness and fall miserably short content to live a small insignificant life.
Stop making excuses.
Why do so many people fail? As you can imagine, the reasons people fail are complex. But here are a few ideas to think about:
- Money. It's not inherently evil. It's meant to be a blessing. But try and take away what people earn, save or invest and see what happens.
- Sex. It's meant to be a blessing in marriage. However, deviation from its God-defined purpose causes heartbreak, legal issues and ultimately disaster.
- Power. Ironically, God's power is displayed in our weakness. Command-control is not God's established style of leadership but he does bless servant leaders. Servant leaders recognize their vital contribution as they participate in a grander vision greater than themselves.
- Pride. Selfish ambition is the downfall for many and is often recognized too late. Self-preservation is the other side of that coin. Our actions can speak louder than words. Notice the beneficiaries or the outcomes of decisions you make to help discern whether or not you're the type of leader God blesses.
One step at a time.
There's no shortcut. We have to do the hard thing over and over again. Truly seasoned leaders understand the real struggle is internal. They understand the wrestling match within and will often do the hard thing first even if only to get it out of the way. They do the hard thing regardless of personal cost. Accountability means we can be responsible for our attitudes, decisions and actions. It's also the most practical weapon in the integrity war. Watch your life and what you believe closely. Imagine the end of your life years from now. Set the goal of finishing well with more passion for God and his Kingdom goals than you have today. Write it down and share it with trusted Christian friends who share your vision for a fantastic finish. Don't settle for the default. Engage in all God has for you.
I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7