FINISH STRONG–It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

When the LORD speaks–obey! When the LORD says go, go. For the last eight months how would you describe life. People have been scared, uncertain, traumatized, under intense pressure, and very difficult. For how ever we have imagined our year to unfold, maybe it is nothing like what we imagined. But in Christ, it is never over.

When we feel down and discouraged, we can try this strategy to encourage ourselves.

  1. What are the challenges?
  2. What went wrong?
  3. Reflect on what did not go wrong?
  4. Reflect on what you would have done differently?
  5. Reflect on what you have learned?
  6. How will you handle life when things don’t go as planned?
  7. What you are looking forward to. (What do you need to remind yourself of?)
  8. Develop a plan on how to do what you need to do differently.

Don’t allow your present circumstances to dictate the future God promised you.

  • Isaiah 40:29-31 New King James Version – He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

We must do what the LORD has told us to do and not allow doubt, fear, time or age discourage us. Here are FIVE practical tips to help us finish strong.

  1. Identify your goal and call. What is the one thing God has prompted you to do, to start or to finish? If we don’t know what that is, we should seek God. When we receive the answer–write it down. Get an image of your goals and pray over it. Be grateful for where you are. Thank God daily for what He is doing now.
  2. Break down the large goal into small obtainable steps. God honors small steps. Carve out 15 to 20 minutes per day and focus on that goal or business. Get an example of a business plan and tailor it to your business. Write down the things you need to say to that person you need to confront (based on how the Lord’s leading you). THEN, present that to the Lord for approval.
  3. Find a safe, accountability person. A safe person has our best interests at heart. Our accountability partner may not be the same in every season. On days when we don’t have the drive and motivation to move forward, ask for help or prayer. Then we must allow that person to show up for us. An accountability partner will check us when we are making excuses. Have a set time meet or talk about the progress made. We were created for relationship. We don’t have to do everything alone.
  4. JUST START–take the first step. Jesus walked on water, one step at a time. The apostle Peter followed the LORD and walked on water too–one step at a time! Obey immediately and accurately. Delayed obedience or selective obedience, is disobedience. Obedience is about timing and being diligent. Somebody is waiting for us to take that small step. Someone is waiting for us to do what God has called us to do it. Noah was called to build the ark, so that people and animals could be saved from the flood.
  5. Be alert of distractions and excuses. Satan is tricky, but not original or creative. The enemy uses the same strategies to make us stumble over and over again. The enemy attacks us in our…
    • Passions/desires
    • Focus (Focus on what you can control and not what you can’t control)
    • Distractions (Sends them to get us off track)
    • Identity (Know who you are in Christ so people can’t get you off track)
    • Family (Gets you focused too much on their needs)
    • Confidence (If you don’t have confidence, you won’t move forward. Lack of confidence immobilizes us)
    • Calling (Makes you doubt what God has called us to do)
    • Rest (Makes us too complacent and too comfortable OR too busy serving others to do what God has called us to do). But, be content in what God has already done.
    • Relationships
    • Heart (Not being truthful with yourself, with God or positioning yourself to make the necessary changes)
  6. The wealthiest places in the world are not diamond mines, gold mines, banks, or oil fields. They are cemeteries. In cemeteries are buried talents and treasures that never came out. Don’t go to the grave with your treasure still in you.

God is trusting us with the calling He has placed on our lives. Focus on the time left to obey God and not on the time already wasted.

Are you fully committed to Christ?

It costs to be fully committed. For some, it’s a price too high to pay. Temptation is at an all-time high. Things that God calls sin is often called normal in these end times. God doesn’t lower His standards because we don’t understand them. God is sovereign. It is His right to govern His own creation.

  • John 1:1-3 English Standard Version In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

We must choose to connect with Jesus and commit to Him on purpose. We can’t allow ourselves to be lulled asleep. This requires determination on our part. We can pray for strength to commit to Jesus fully.

  • John 6:65-69 New King James Version65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

We must want to walk with Jesus. We have to want to pray. We must want to spend time with Jesus. If we don’t, identify the problem. We must get with the Lord and see why our commitment is dwindling.

Remember commitment will be challenged by the Four T’s:

  • Tested
  • Tempted
  • Tribulation
  • Trials

Make up your mind in advance to not leave Jesus. Make up your mind not to look back or go back. Remember Lot’s wife. It is possible to being going forward, while your heart is looking back to the world.

The devil wasn’t created to be a devil. He became one. He chose to rebel against God. What are we becoming? Are we choosing to rebel against God or all we choosing to fully commit to the LORD who created us.

Everyone will be tested. There are only two results–pass or fail. We will all be tested based on what we heard from God’s Word. The enemy will always craft a lie based on what is already in God’s Word. Consider Eve.

  • Genesis 3:1-5 New King James VersionNow the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

We must be fully committed to God’s Word and His instructions. So why are we drawn to what we have been told is sin? One minister once said, “Change is not the thing that is dangerous. Being comfortable is dangerous.” Complacency kills passion.

  • Revelation 3:15-17 New King James Version 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
  • Matthew 6:24 New King James Version – No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Commitment to God will cost. In some cases it will cost us our lives. Jesus is so committed to us, He gave His life for us.

  • Philippians 2:8 New King James Version –  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

An Attitude of Gratitude.

“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:15-16 NKJV

Don’t ride on “E”–empty. We must know when it is time to be full of faith and gratitude. Jesus often asks us to do something that requires faith. When Jesus responds to our faith, we must not forget to honor the Lord with gratitude. That’s what the ten lepers did who cried out to Jesus for healing.

  • Luke 17:11-19 New King James Version11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.

Only one of the ten lepers healed returned to thank Jesus and give Him glory. Nobody owes us anything. Jesus didn’t have to heal the lepers. But they could have at least said thank you–not just one, but all of them. When was the last time we thanked God for saving us from that car accident, or that illness, or that dangerous situation? Everyone does not make it out of those situations alive. We must learn to be grateful for everything the LORD has done.

One thing we should always be thankful for is salvation. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins. That is the greatest gift we could ever receive.

  • Romans 6:23 New King James Version – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Hebrews 12:28 English Standard Version – Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

No matter how dark our situation is, whether it is the death of a loved one or a personal tragedy, God calls us to give thanks. This is the will of God.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 New King James Version – in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

We must learn to be thankful for everything. Food, clothing, shelter and the basic necessities of life, which many of us enjoy, are all things we should be grateful for. An attitude of gratitude will change our altitude.

God elevates the grateful. Notice the leper who returned to give thanks received not just healing, but wholeness. The grateful leper was made whole.

Our attitude should be good because of WHO we have–the LORD Jesus–and not what we have.