The Life We Choose

Series: You In Five Years. James Dewhurst January 5, 2020

You in Five Years

The Life We Choose

New Year? New Decade? What do I need to change? What does my future hold? I think in times of reflection like this, we tend to overestimate what we can do in the short term and underestimate what we can do in the long-term. Since we have such short attention spans today, we overload the present with sweeping changes because we need to see instant results. The result? Burnout and failure. What we are missing, more than ever before is a stick-with-it-ness. People are jumping ship on jobs, goals, spouses, friends and even churches, as soon as they are not ecstatic or stimulated anymore. People no longer stick with stuff long enough to hit their stride, grow or make an impact. Without roots in the present nothing bears fruit in the future!

Change Statistics in America:

-The average American worker between 24-35, changes jobs every 3.5 years, and all U.S. employees combined average of 4.6 years.

-There are 30 million Americans who move every year

-One of the newest trends is the college athlete transfer portal. In the 2018-2019 school year alone, 15,000 student-athletes entered the portal to change schools.

-The average pastor in America now only stays at a church for 3.5 years, and the average church member only attends 1-2 times per month.

America has embraced a lottery approach to life, instead of a simple interest one! We want to hit it big, now. People don’t have time to watch the compound interest of life grow anymore. They want to get from here to there, and do it fast! Is there a pill I can take? Is there a stock I can buy? Is there something I can order on Amazon to fix it?

Proverbs 28:19

19 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. (ESV)

Exodus 23:29-30

29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. (ESV)

God was teaching his people that too much change, too fast, is unsustainable!!!

God knew that the Israelites weren’t mature enough to handle everything instantly!

God takes us through a process of change so that we are mature enough to sustain it!

Proverbs 20:21

21 An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end. (ESV)

People are in the business of quick change, but God is in the business of heart change!

Prayer – “Lord, don’t ever let my blessings take me where my character can’t keep me!”

So what if we decided to play the long game instead of the short game, and instead of trying to change everything in January, we looked down the road 5 years instead?

Little changes, over time, lead to big changes in time!

The truth is, life is a pain! Nothing good happens in life without sustained discipline. We will either choose the pain of discipline or the pain of disappointment. It’s our choice!

Notice – Nothing on that list was a quick change. It was daily decisions compounded!

The reality is, 5 years is enough time to do a lot of good or a lot of evil! 5 years from this very day, you will have traveled long enough to have done a lot of one or the other. This message and the entire series is about encouraging us to make good decisions. Let’s get to 5 years from now and be pumped about the choices we have made!

Matthew 7:13-14

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (ESV)

Galatians 6:7-8

7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (ESV)

I want to give us 3 eye-opening truths about change today, as we begin 2020:

(1) Time, unfortunately, is not on our side!

There are two Greek words used for “Time” in the New Testament:

> Chronos: Simply represents generic time (What time is it?)

> Kairos: Means a specific or strategic time (It’s time to go!)

The Message Bible speaks of Kairos time beautifully in Romans 13:11-14 (MSG) “But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!”

Paul told us in this passage to wake up, be aware and understand what time it is!

Psalm 39:5 (NIV) “You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.”

David again said in: Psalm 90:10 “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”

Since life is temporary, it is time to make sure we are living for something eternal!

(2 )Future you is just an older version of current you!

So many of us think about the future in this mysterious way. What will life be like in 5, 10, or 20 years? You’ll just be more of what you are, with more miles on the odometer!

Time doesn’t magically change who you are, it just reveals more of who you are!

The Bible tells us in: Proverbs 26:27 “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.”

So, if you don’t like what your getting, you need to change what you’re doing!*

Going through the motions is only a problem if you’re going through the wrong motions!

It is never too late to yield to the Lord, repent, and make needed changes in our lives!

(3) Long-term consistency always outperforms short-term intensity!

Ongoing and measured consistency allows us to tap into the compound interest of life!

Einstein once said of it – “He who understands it, earns it, and he who doesn’t, pays it.”

Paul teaches us this exact principle in: 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Change happens when we choose measured determination over short term emotions!

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