Graduation Speech: Christ is Still the Only Way

Graduation Speech: Christ is Still the Only Way

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For the last 18 years or so, we have been influenced and directed by parents, teachers, and other authority figures. We have been told when to get up, when to work, when to play, when to eat, sleep, come home, go out, etc., etc., etc. Now we are moving on. As we do, let me remind you of two principles we have been taught, the principle of freedom and the principle of success. As adults, a whole new world of personal freedom awaits us.

Freedom is a wonderful gift. It is similar to a coin with two sides. Those of us with a driver's license understand these two concepts every time we get into a car. In your car, where you go, how fast you go, and what route you will take are all up to you. You are free to make those choices.

However, this freedom also means that you must be responsible. Why does the law require that we have insurance? Because the moment you take control of the vehicle, you become accountable for every one of your actions until your vehicle reaches its destination. You have the freedom to go as fast as you want, but the law will discipline you if you go too fast. You have freedom to take any road you want, but not every road will take you to your desired destination.

Life is very much like driving. You are free to choose any one of the many options before you both now and in the future, but not every option will take you where God would want you to go.

Proverbs 16:9: The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

You can choose to live in the so-called "fast lane" without any sense of responsibility, but are you ready to pay the price? Proverbs 14:12: There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. In order to remain truly free you must learn to balance personal choices with biblical responsibility. Live your life to the fullest, mindful that we will all someday give an account to God for our actions.

As you enjoy this tremendous gift called freedom, stay accountable to God because that's the only way to maximize your potential for success.

This brings me to my second point. Most people don't really understand success, at least not as the Bible defines it.

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The world measures success in terms of popularity, wealth, power, records, and social status. "He who wins the game or owns the gold is successful."

God's word suggests, however, that success is not the result of achieving an objective. True success has much more to do with the manner in which you pursue your objectives.

Success is not an outcome, it is a way of living. What I am saying is this, success shouldn't be measured by what you have achieved, but rather by how you are pursuing your goals.

Unfortunately this is a concept that most of the world completely misses, and I think many Christians miss it as well. God has called us to a life that glorifies Him. I Corinthians 10:31: Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. This involves living like Christ and serving others.

Now, if glorifying God is the highest goal in life, isn't it possible to be successful any place, any time, at any social level, and irrespective of any human achievement, providing you are glorifying God?

Based on this understanding of success it follows that glorifying God should be your life-long pursuit. This kind of a life is going to take strength and discipline saturated in prayer and reliance on God.

Something to remember, though, is that everything I have said so far is useless unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. By this I mean that you live your life completely for Him, and not for yourself. Without a relationship with Christ you cannot possibly glorify God, and therefore cannot possibly achieve true success. Salvation is the key that unlocks the door to a successful and satisfying future. Christ is still the only way, the only truth, and the only life (John 14:6). Examine your heart to see if Christ is Lord in your life, or if you have shut Him out of your soul.

Class of 2012, 50 years from now, when we all gather for our 50th high school reunion, may it be said of us that we exercised our freedom with responsibility, and that we achieved success in God's eyes.
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