Graduate Address: 7 Keys To Success

DA Graduates Recently, I had the honor of speaking to a great group of 2014 high school graduates. After much life reflection, processing and prayer God led me to share the following keys to success.

#1 SEIZE THE MOMENT.

There is no moment more important than the one in front of you. The decisions and choices you make between the ages of 18 and 25 are often life defining.Many of you will choose a college major, start a career, and before you know you’ll be starting a family of your own.Before this moment passes you by, before you look ahead, seize the moment God has put in front of you.

(Ephesians 5:15-17)Therefore be careful how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

#2: LEARN FROM OTHERS. There are folks everywhere who have gone before you, been where you are, and have learned lessons along the way. Knowledge can be attained by anyone, but wisdom is gained through life experience. Just because someone doesn’t own a smart phone, doesn’t mean they aren’t smart.Listen to your parents. Seek the advice of your teachers. Learn from your friends, family, and others who have gone before you.

(Proverbs 15:22) “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

#3: WALK WITH INTEGRITY.

It doesn’t matter what school you graduate from, what family you come from, or how likely you are to succeed. Integrity will always be the most important thing on your resume.

Integrity is choosing do the right thing in the sight of God and man, no matter what. If I was hiring someone for a job, the first thing I would want to know about them is their character. Can you be trusted? Are you dependable? Will you do the right thing no matter who is looking? Lack of integrity will affect every area of your life. Don’t compromise your integrity for anything or anyone…

(Proverbs 10:9) “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”

(Proverbs 28:6)Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”

#4 EXPECT ADVERSITY.

Every time I attend a graduation ceremony, I find myself wanting to rush the stage. Many graduates say, “things will be much easier now that I’m out of school and out on my own.” Trust me, the hardships of life have only begun. Soon, you will know what it’s like to pay your own bills. You will actually recognize the price of gas. And, you will realize these were some of the best days of your life.  

Those who don’t expect adversity are in for a rude awakening. Not matter where you live or what you do you will face adversity. We all have an enemy named Satan who is constantly looking for ways to distract us, depress us, and destroy us. We also have a God, who wants to grow us, develop us, and help us overcome whatever life throws our way.

(Job 14:1) “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.

#5 SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT COMPANY.

(1 Corinthians 15:33) Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” I could spend hours on this matter. But, I just want to say these things clearly. One, choose your closest friends WISELY. Two, understand your need for good, Christian support.

Keep in touch with those who love you and can encourage you to stay the course God has laid out for you. Make sure no matter where you live, that you find a church that can remind you of God’s truth and encourage you should you fall off track.

Scripture warns us to never walk alone. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

#6 SEEK GOD’S PLANS.

In case, you’ve never been told. God created you with a purpose. He gave you certain gifts to be used for His glory. He has already laid out specific plans for your life. You don’t have to create plans for your life. God already has amazing plans for you.

(Jeremiah 29:11)For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

(Proverbs 19:21) “You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.”

I used to think I had to figure out everything God wanted me to do today. I’ve discovered over time that my job is not to figure it all out, but to wake up and trust a God who has already figured it all out.

#7 NO MATTER WHAT CLING TO YOUR FAITH.

Things will change. People will disappoint. Many things won’t work out the way you envisioned. No matter what, CLING TO YOUR FAITH.

If you cling to your faith, God will take you through valleys, otherwise unbearable. God will hold you together, when otherwise you would fall apart. Your faith is the most critical part of your life. The greatest battle you will ever face in this life is spiritual. Stay on your knees in prayer. Meditate on God’s word. And run the race marked out for you.

I pray that at the end of your life, you can say the following, (2 Timothy 4:7) “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

God bless all those who are graduating this year and may God grant you all success as you follow His plans.

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