Summary: I delivered this message at a graduation service for an anti-gang group known as the Youth Reclamation Committee.

Failure is Not an Option

• Give Acknowledgements

• Explain the Theme

• Explain the history of the quote

• Explain speech

• “People fail because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. What their purpose is, why they even exist. “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”

With that said, allow me to bless you with what I have learned about God and who I believe He called you to be. I do not want to sound preachy, and I do not want you to feel like I am picking on you, but because I sincerely and genuinely care about what happens to you, I need to say this.

First, you were made by God and for God, and until you accept and understand that, life will never make sense. You cannot discover why you are here and what you are supposed to be doing here by looking at yourself. You did not create you, so you cannot tell you what you were created to do. It is only through God that you will discover your purpose, your identity, your meaning, your significance, or your destiny. Don’t believe me, look around you. The path that you took led you here. There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is death. It’s time you clarified your values, set some goals, figured out what you’re good at, disciplined yourself and go for it. You cannot wait until they call your number to “pack up” and then you decide. From the day you stepped foot in this place you should have been asking yourself, “What am I going to differently, how do I get the knowledge, skills and training to do what it is I need to do, and who do I know who can help me?”

Second, your life was not an accident. Your parents may not have planned to have you, but it was not really up to them. God used them to bring you forth. You were created for a purpose; one that God had before your parents even knew each other. I say this because I want you to move outside that box you call blame and start looking at you. Stop blaming your parents, your teachers, your wife, the government, and your homies, for the path you made a conscious decision to take. You made up in your mind that you were going to do whatever it was that got you here. You did that!

Nothing can make up for you not knowing your purpose and I strongly believe that’s how and why so many people are facing the trials they face today. But, it’s time to let go of the guilt. Let go of the resentment and anger. Let go of the fear of what you don’t understand. Let go of the materialism (the best car, the best clothes, the best jewelry, the best house.) Let go of the need for approval… because those people who follow the crowd will eventually get lost in it.

One key to failure is trying to please everybody. It can’t be done. You will never please everybody. But failure is not an option, so create plan B, create a plan C and move. Do not continue to labor (exist) with no purpose. Do not continue to expend your strength in vain and for nothing. Your greatest tragedy will not be being locked up, it will not even be dying, it will be living your life without ever knowing your purpose. When you live your life on purpose, what is important to you changes. All the things you thought were important, the things money can buy, you soon realize don’t mean a thing. There are eternal consequences to everything you do on earth. Too many people are thinking in the short term, I may not be here to see tomorrow, so let me get mine in now. There is far more to life than just today. It’s sad because most people only think about eternity at a funeral. Death will certainly come. No man knows the time or the hour when the Son of Man will come. Are you prepared?

Third, the way you see your life, shapes your life. How you define who you are… determines… everything that happens to you. If I asked you to paint me a picture of your life up to today, what would I see? Whatever you paint, it is what you think, feel and believe about who you are. It is your description of how life works and what you expect to receive from it. It determines your expectations, your values, your relationships, your goals, and your priorities.

At some point, you will have to get a grip on life and make a concerted (determined, resolute) difference between ideal (what “seems” right to you) and truth (what’s real). You will have to challenge what people have always told you was truth, and replace it with godly wisdom. God said, “And be not conformed (try to fit it, try to measure up to it’s standards) to this world (what everyone else is doing, following the crowd), but be transformed (changed, converted, made over) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove (know, accept, believe beyond a shadow of a doubt) what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

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