It is always good to get started “on the right foot.” Whether it is a project, a job, or a relationship, it is good when things begin well. The prospects for a successful venture seem good when they get started in the right way. But it is also important to finish well. No matter the way something begins in our lives, the goal is that when we reach the end, we can know that it was “well done.”
King Solomon started well. We read in 1 Kings 3 that as Solomon began his reign as king of Israel, succeeding his father David, Solomon “. . . loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David . . . Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings . . .” (3:3-4 NKJV). When God asked him what he desired from the Lord, he did not ask for things that would make him look good in the eyes of the kings of the surrounding nations (like wealth and riches), but rather he asked God for “. . . an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9 NKJV). A good beginning to his reign as king. Had he lived and reigned during the New Testament era, he might have prayed in words like those written by Thomas Chisholm in his Gospel hymn, I Want to Be Like Jesus.
I have one deep, supreme desire – that I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire – that I may be like Jesus.
I want my heart His throne to be, so that a watching world may see
His likeness shining forth in me. I want to be like Jesus.
We don’t know a lot about Jesus’ earthly life except for the approximately thirty-six months of his ministry. The Scriptures record just thirty-six months – a short three years – during which Jesus declared by word and example that “the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15 NKJV).
He spent His life in doing good; I want to be like Jesus.
In lowly paths of service trod; I want to be like Jesus.
He sympathized with hearts distress, He spoke the words that cheered and blessed,
He welcomed sinners to His breast. I want to be like Jesus.
“He spent His life in doing good.” That sounds like something I would like written on my tombstone. Think of all that Jesus did in those three years of ministry. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. As Thomas Chisholm wrote, “He sympathized with hearts distressed; He spoke the words that cheered and blessed.” But most of all, “He welcomed sinners to His breast.” Jesus came to “. . . seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 NKJV). He lived to do the will of his heavenly Father, which ultimately led Him to the cross.
A holy, harmless life He led; I want to be like Jesus.
The Father’s will – His drink and bread; I want to be like Jesus.
And when at last He comes to die, “Forgive them, Father,” was His cry
For those who taunt and crucify. I want to be like Jesus.
What are your goals in life? What do you want your “life message” to be? Have you gotten off to a good start, or is your life a story of brokenness and strife? Of sin and failure? No matter how you have begun, you can finish well. Solomon started strong, but over the course of his life he drifted from his love for the Lord and finished his life a broken and compromised man. You and I do not have to finish that way. As you day by day – moment by moment – yield the control of your life to the Lord, His Spirit will fill you and empower you "...that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10 NKJV).
O perfect life of Christ, my Lord! I want to be like Jesus.
My recompense and my reward – that I may be like Jesus.
His Spirit fill my hungering soul, His power all my life control.
My deepest prayer, my highest goal – that I may be like Jesus.
Enjoy an arrangement of this hymn by David and Steven Au at this link.
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