By Michael Goldsmith
President Calvin Coolidge is credited for giving us the quote, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are overwhelmingly powerful.” Persistence, determination, and perseverance. All three are necessary ingredients for lasting success. In Proverbs 3:16 we are instructed, “Every prudent man acts with knowledge.” The Living Bible puts it this way, “A wise man thinks ahead.” Moses would have understood both Coolidge’s thinking as well as proverbs instruction. From his life we gain 5 insights for achieving personal success. Moses had to settle some personal issues in order to achieve the greatness of leading the children of Israel into freedom.
1. The Identity Issue. In Hebrews 11:24 we read, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” Moses was born a Hebrew, but raised in the extravagance, opulence, and wisdom of Egypt. On the day that he witnessed an Egyptian guard beating a Hebrew slave he had to make a critical call about himself. Who would he be? If an Egyptian prince being groomed for the palace leadership, he would simply turn his head. If an Hebrew born and bred slave, he would have to get involved. Moses had an identity crisis and settled it. He was a Jew and whatever that cost him he was willing to pay the price. Many people are wandering through a fog because they haven’t settled the issue of who they are. Knowing who you are will not guarantee success but it certainly is a prerequisite. What are you going to be called and what are you going to refuse to be called? Good questions to think about.
2. The Responsibility Issue. When you read through Hebrews 11, especially verses 24-29 that deal with Moses, you’ll find several verbs that indicate action on the part of Moses. He was willing to take responsibility for his circumstances. Where you are today is basically the result of every choice you’ve made leading up to this day. That’s a hard reality to swallow. It’s much easier, less painful, and convenient to find someone to blame for our circumstances than it is to be honest and forthright enough to say, “I’m achieving my goals or I’m wasting days and losing time because of my own choices.” I am a strong advocate of personal responsibility. Hebrews 11:24 pinpoints the moment when Moses started accepting personal responsibility. It says, “when he had grown up.” There comes a moment when we’ve got to grow up and accept responsibility for ourselves.
3. The Priority Issue. If you’re going to make life count, you have to settle the issue of what is really important to you. You’ve got to ask yourself hard questions and answer them honestly. Questions such as: What is the most important thing to me? What am I going to live for, die for, hold close, and let go? How am I going to spend my time, money, and energy? When they’re standing at my grave, how do I want to be most remembered? In verse 26 we are told that Moses, “considered the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” There are three things you’ve got to decide. What you’re going to live for. How you’re going to live that out. When you’re going to get started.
4. The Adversity Issue. Life can be hard. A father once told his little girl, “Life is hard and as soon as you realize that it gets a lot easier.” Moses’ decision had consequences. Every decision has consequences. For Moses it was “not fearing the wrath of the king,” (v. 27). Every life is going to have its tales of hardship, difficulty, adversity, and pain. Life can be cruel, disappointing, unfair, without reward, and humiliating. You’ve got to decide what you’re going to do about those isolated moments that are standing in your way. Will you let them be barriers or bridges to your future? Will they be paralyzing obstacles or new discovered opportunities?
5. The Integrity Issue. Moses not only knew who he was but he was sold out to live a life of character. When you settle the character issue of your life it will help you to act in the face of popular opinion, activate the protective power of God, anticipate God’s supernatural intervention, and achieve a lasting legacy. Thousands of years have passed since Moses and we’re still learning from his life. Galatians asks us a very important question concerning integrity. Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” Good words from the Good Book.
Michael Goldsmith has pastored congregations in North Little Rock, Conway, Pine Bluff and Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. He now serves with Global University as Director of Advancement for a project in a sensitive country. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.