Keys to success for the graduate

Published 1:17 pm Saturday, May 20, 2017

By LARRY P. STOVER | Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene 

Most graduates are looking for success in life.  They have their dreams and goals with the loftiest achievements in mind.  Often those goals include going on to the next level of academics, getting married and having a family.  In the process of fulfilling those dreams, graduates can forget the main thing in life.

Philippians 3:12-14 give us four keys to success in life.  I like to think of those keys as the “main thing.”  It reads, “Not that I have arrived at my goal, so I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I do not consider myself yet to have reached my goal. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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My first observation is that we should concentrate on one main goal.  This has to do with our “focus.”  Other options can be important and necessary but there is a “glue” that holds everything together and moves toward that primary objective.  Graduates have so many options for the future.  There are so many variables in life.  Young adults dabble in a lot of things as they seek to fulfill their dreams.  But, to be a success they need to get focused on the “glue” that will bring all their dreams and goals onto one path.

A second observation on Philippians chapter 3 is that graduates need to focus on constant improvement.  Paul said that he had not arrived at his goal at this point in his life.  Many people fail in business, academic advancement, and even life because they feel that they have arrived at a self-determined goal only to realize that they are a long way from the dreams that had driven them at one point in their lives.

Forgetting about the past is a third observation.  Too many people are being consumed by their past with its failures and defeats.  I’ve been telling students for the past few weeks that, “It’s not about your past or where you are from; it’s about where you are going.”  We all have stories about our heritage that can affect our present status.  If we are not careful, we can allow the circumstances of life to stymie our forward progress and hinder us from reaching goals that are necessary to make our life reach its full potential.

My last observation is to focus on the future.  The only way to forget the past and avoid being bogged down in the present is to stay focused on the dreams and goals that will bring your future into fruition.  It important to discover the “glue” that will keep everything in perspective.

What is that “glue?”  The Apostle Paul is correct in defining that “glue” as a daily personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  When our Christian faith is the primary focus in life it will keep everything in focus and allow us to become the person God intended us to become.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can keep developing our relationship with the Lord who will guide us with important decisions about our future.  Knowing that we will never be spiritually perfect in this life, we focus on constant improvement.  God will keep molding and shaping us into His personally designed plan for our life as we serve Him.

When you accept Jesus Christ into your life, He forgives you of you past sins, mistakes, bad choices and every other decision based on poor judgment.  He gives you a future filled with His grace and guidance.  His possibilities can be your possibilities.  His plan can become your plan.  His potential for you can become a reality.  It’s all about a “keeping the main thing, the main thing!”

Graduates, don’t leave God out of your decisions and plans for the future.  He wants to help you and guide you with every decision you make.  You have a bright future and success is a real possibility if Jesus Christ is Lord of your life.  That decision will make your life “simply beautiful!”