Success means many different things to different people. However, most people I know want to ‘do life’ well, and that includes finishing well. You probably know someone who was super successful and appeared to have it all together. Then as they grew older, they seemed to fall apart emotionally and spiritually. What happened we wonder? 

The Bible is full of stories about good endings and tragic endings. Take king Solomon for example. Many believe he was the richest and wisest man who ever lived. He prayed for wisdom and God supplied him with it generously. Sadly, King Solomon did not finish well. He turned away from God and begin worshiping idols:

 “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” (1 Kings 11: 9-11).

On the other hand, his father King David did finish well. Was there less sin in David’s life than in Solomon’s? No, not necessarily. In fact, the second half of David’s life was just as rampant with sin as King Solomon’s was. The difference is David acknowledged his sins and turned back to the Lord. God described David as a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). 

All the wisdom and wealth in the world is useless in the end if we are not walking with Lord.

So, what does that mean for us as Christians? One of the best ways to ensure we finish well is to know God’s Word and pray often. Jesus said: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

Finishing well also means checking in with ourselves frequently and reflecting on our emotional and spiritual health. I’ve been sober for over 14 years. Without God and sobriety, I know I’m doomed for a reckless and tragic ending. If anything is getting in the way of those two things, I need to clear it out or get help so I don’t stumble.  

Yes, praying for wisdom is good, but stay close to yourself, and closer to the Lord so that you will finish well.