“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.” – Joshua 1:7
For the past few days I’ve been reading about the life of Saul. What a sad, sad story. Saul started strong. He was chosen by the Lord to be king of Israel. However, as his successes increased, so did his pride. King Saul began trusting in his own strength and power instead of depending upon the Lord. He made many tragic mistakes, and his disobedience and rebellion caused God to say, “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions (1 Samuel 15:11). Because Saul rejected the word of the Lord, God also rejected him and took away his royal position.
When Saul was anointed, Samuel poured the flask of oil over his head, symbolizing the presence of the Holy Spirit in Saul’s life. God power was evident in Saul, and had he continued in the path of righteousness, Saul’s history would have been rewritten in a positive way. But because Saul chose his own path rather than the Lord’s, his leadership and influence were cut short.
The account of Saul’s unfortunate life causes me to examine my own. I don’t want to end up like Saul – full of self instead of compassion, impulsive instead of patient, jealous instead of loving, and anxious instead of peaceful. My goal is not just to start strong as a follower of Christ but to finish strong as well.
So, what do I need to do to persevere to the end and not fall away? It’s what we all must do. Keep our eyes on Jesus, and remember that He is the Source of all that we need. If you and I are successful in that one thing, we will make it. And the reward for our victory? We’ll be welcomed into Heaven by our Savior’s open arms as he says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Let’s celebrate together (Matthew 5:23, NLT)!”