The One Thing that Can Destroy Your Dream

Have you ever watched a person or a team reach a goal? It is one reason we love the stories during the Olympics or why we cry at the end of Miracle or Rocky. 

Have you ever been to a 50th wedding anniversary? The excitement, passion, and love the couple has for each other is incredible.

On the flip side, have you ever watched a person give up on a goal? Maybe give up on losing weight, decide that school was too hard, that their marriage was too far gone? It is sad to watch someone give up.

What is the difference? I believe it is one thing.

All of us have a vision for our lives. And many times, we unknowingly destroy it on our own or let someone else do it.

If you look back on a failed vision or dream, you might be able to see it.

Think about a relationship that ended or on its way to ending. What killed it? It started somewhere; one thing led to the entire downfall.

I know what you’re thinking, “Josh, one thing can’t destroy everything.”

But the reality is all dreams and goals that are missed and destroyed go back to one thing.

Every leader you have ever loved or loved to follow had it.

Every relationship you were in that was healthy had it.

Every leader you have not loved to follow lacked it.

It is the one thing that separates them from others.

That thing is moral authority.

Moral authority is the one thing you can’t live without if you want to see your vision or dream come to be. Without, your influence is short lived.

Moral authority is the relationship other people see between what you say and what you do.

According to Andy Stanley, Moral authority is the result of a commitment to do what’s right. Regardless.

No amount of skill, charisma or talent makes up for lack of moral authority.

Moral authority and integrity are the same. Integrity is being whole, not being divided.

We’ve all seen people with moral authority lose it.

But how?


To build moral authority, you have to set up guardrails.

Guardrails on a highway going up a mountain keep a car from going off the cliff. With them in place, you may crash, but you hopefully won’t die.

In life, guardrails are the decisions you make ahead of time.

For me, I have made decisions to maintain my moral authority. Things like how I spend my time, reading my bible, make sure I have accountability in my life, and people know about my inner world. This includes things like Katie having my passwords, setting up restrictions on my phone, thinking ahead about who I meet with, where we meet, etc.

But where does moral authority come from?

According to Stanley, Moral authority comes from 3 places: character, sacrifice and time.


This means your life matches your talk; you are the same person everywhere in your life.

The person with moral authority is committed to doing the right thing.

Are you willing to surrender your life, career, marriage, purity, relationships to God’s way?

Your character is who you are when no one is around.

People are more convinced by what you do than what you say.

Here are some questions for you to see where your character is:

  • How do you respond when someone takes “your parking spot?”
  • How do you respond to slow internet?
  • How do you respond to critics?
  • Do you ever read social media and think, “these people are idiots?”
  • What do you do when you are done unloading your shopping cart at the grocery store?


You will give something up for moral authority. Sometimes these will feel like losses and at other times it won’t. I remember when I got married at 22 and friends asked me if I realized I was sacrificing the “fun” single life of parties and trips (their ideas of fun). I shrugged because I didn’t see it as a sacrifice.

Any healthy relationship you see, you see two people who have chosen to give something up. It’s the only way forward.

We sacrifice all kinds of things. We sacrifice time with family for work, we sacrifice work for family time, and we sacrifice our bodies so they will look a certain way. The question isn’t if you will make sacrifices, you will make sacrifices to get what matters to you. The question is, will it be the right sacrifice and lead to moral authority.

This means you are willing to do the right thing, no matter what it means.

When you make a sacrifice for something you believe in, it gives you moral authority.


Moral authority is built over time. This is our problem though; we want it developed now. Today.

Our culture is so focused on shortcuts. I got hit up recently by two friends about how to make more money, marketing ideas. We’re convinced there’s a shortcut somewhere, but there isn’t.

Moral authority is built over a lifetime but can be destroyed in a moment.

Remember: Moral authority is the result of a commitment to do what’s right. Regardless.