Maybe you are like me wondering where the year has gone. And you are currently reflecting back on the success and as well as the mistakes(failures) of this year. Maybe you are yet to complete the plans you had for 2018; that course you started, the business you plan to start or maybe you are yet to finish reading the book you started and the list goes on…
You’ve been thinking…
I’m not going to make it. It’s too hard. It’s too much work. This is just too hard. There is so much left to do in such a short time.
A lot of people would just walk away. But if God is speaking to you — if you’re hearing that still, small voice telling you, “You are not a quitter. You’re a finisher!” — then put your blinders on. It is not over yet!
This is not the time to start feeling anxious, overwhelmed due to mistakes and bad choices you have made during the year. No matter what you have left to achieve this 2018, you can achieve it in 2019. Don’t beat yourself up! As long as you have life, NOTHING is impossible with God on your side.
Don’t. Give. Up.
Listen to what God is telling you to do. He is calling you today to go back to the drawing board. Check in on your goals. Revisit those areas of failures and re-evaluate. Don’t wait until January 1, 2019 to start planning, START NOW!
You need to have a renewed mindset before the end of this year to be able to start 2019 much STRONGER. And where better place to start?
Below, I have listed some tips to help you as we prepare for 2019. These steps are drawn from examples in the Bible which aim to get you to start thinking differently now as we approach the end of 2018. Finishing the year with a different mindset is, in fact, finishing strong.
FINISH 2018 WITH THESE 4 POWERFUL TIPS
1. PLAN NOW!
Count The Cost
“Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.”
Starting something new is always exciting. Even though we may initially have fears, I think, in general, we all look forward to a new thing. Often, I’ve ventured out into new phases of my life. I can still remember my first day of elementary school. It was scary but exciting, simultaneously. Every idea for a new project, venture, or journey breeds deep excitement in our souls. In life we all love to start, be it dating, marriage, joining the workforce, college, the gym, business, a ministry, a creative project, or a family. Whatever it may be, we all look forward to the beginning of something new because it always sounds and feels magical in our minds. We get a feeling of euphoria which we hope will never disappear. Starting is infused with positives only, and our thoughts may roam the expanse of possibilities, and the results always end well in our minds. Starting is terrific, but there is something more powerful than starting. It is finishing.
Jesus, in one of His teachings, addressed starting and finishing. While He was speaking on following, He used natural examples to reiterate His point – in Luke 14:28 – 37.
Life is full of many great starters, but unfortunately, the numbers dwindle with finishers. When we stop for a moment and look at the world today, globally, or even in our communities, we can see the effects of the starters that never finished.
Jesus urged us to count the cost before we start because He knew the giddy feelings we would encounter once we have ideas that sound great to us. He knew we could get so caught up in starting and forget the cost involved to finish our assignments. I have seen and experienced so many heartbreaks and disappointments, so many tears and sleepless nights, all because I didn’t count the cost. I didn’t consider the whole picture, creating my own failure. God works differently from our world system.
The Word tells us, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
(Ephesians 1: 4-5 NIV)
God knows the end from the beginning Isaiah 46:10, God counts the cost to the end, and then he started creation. So too, we must count the cost before we start anything, and calculate a strong finish even before we begin.
2. DON’T PROCRASTINATE.
Be Committed To Achieving Your Goals like Jesus
“Do not be lazy. Run each day’s race with all your might, so that at the end you will receive the victory wreath from God. Keep on running even when you have had a fall. The victory wreath is won by him who does not stay down, but always gets up again, grasps the banner of faith and keeps on running in the assurance that Jesus is Victor.”
Jesus’ whole assignment on earth was to finish the work His Father sent Him to do, and He counted the cost before he took His first step in time. Jesus moved and operated with the end in mind. Every step, every word, every prayer, every miracle, every sermon was done with great resolve to finish. Jesus was motivated to finish because His sole purpose was to do the will of His Father. It was the Father’s heart to save us, to have us draw near to Him without the issues of sin, judgment, and condemnation.
Jesus’ ability to finish His assignment on earth would not only save us, but serve as proof to all humanity that God was real, and sent Jesus to save us. When we desire above all else to do the Father’s will, we will be fueled to finish what we start, and in finishing strong we bear witness to others that God is real. When things get hard but you keep smiling, keep trying with joy and peace, people around you will stop and take notice. They will give credit to God because of the fruit of your staying the course.
Jesus gained physical, emotional and mental strength to run his race to the finish because he kept his eye on the prize. Perhaps today you are caught in the web of having had a great start, but now the trials, obstacles, hardships, and torment is causing you to want to quit and walk away. I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on the prize and the end product. Keep your eyes on Jesus because He, along with the saints that have gone on ahead, is cheering you on. It might be dark, it might be lonely, but know that you are not alone. Keep your eyes on Jesus, remember how He finished, and know that you can finish also!
3. BE DIFFERENT FROM THE REST.
Learn from Apostle Paul
“Follow boldly in your Master’s steps, for He has made this rough journey before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest than false peace and everlasting torment.”
The Apostle Paul was a tremendous visionary, full of passion, and pursued his vision no matter the cost. He didn’t begin on the right track in his pursuit of souls. He was a Jew born to the tribe of Benjamin, and he was very educated in the Law of Moses. He was full of zeal for defending the law he held in high esteem. Therefore, he passionately pursued anyone that would seek to go against this law. He was notorious for persecuting the followers of Jesus because the gospel of Jesus Christ went against the spirit of religion. He was a unique person from the start.
One day, Paul was on a mission to bring to prison all who would dare to follow Jesus Christ. While on the way, he had an encounter with God, face-to-face that changed his course forever. In reality, what happened was mind-boggling, and one could only reason it was God who brought about this sudden change. Paul went from one side of the spectrum to the opposite side; he would now become the persecuted rather than the persecutor – (Acts 9 NIV).
A new path was now charted for Paul, and he would have to count the cost of this call. He would have to decide if he would die for the cause of Christ. He knew of the opposition unleashed against the church of Christ. He was present at the stoning of an innocent follower of Jesus, named Stephen. Paul was no stranger to the torment, pain, and persecution that awaited those who would dare associate with Jesus and his teachings. Nevertheless, Paul counted the cost and set out to start a new race–one that would change the course of the Gentile world. Even though Paul was a Jew, he had a more significant impact on the Gentile nations, and he traveled extensively planting churches and feeding the body of Christ with wisdom from the Holy Spirit. Today, two-thirds of the New Testament is written by the Apostle Paul because he counted the cost. He depended on the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction every step of the way. The Holy Spirit would reveal to him the persecutions he would face, the imprisonments, the beatings, the public humiliation, the loneliness, and even his death. With all that he faced, he kept Jesus before him, and the will of the Father to make disciples of all men.
Paul could have chosen the life of the persecutor to gain status, position, and wealth, but would have spent his eternity in torment. After counting the cost, he chose not to gamble away eternity and headed to the starting line of the call that would cost him everything. I want to encourage you today to meditate on the life of Paul and weigh the choices before you. Count the cost on both ends of the spectrum and see God move in and infuse you with strength as you chose his will!
4. BE GENUINE
“If I fail, I try again, and again, and again. If YOU fail, are you going to try again? The human spirit can handle much worse than we realize. It matters HOW you are going to FINISH. Are you going to finish strong?”
The wisest king that lived, other than Jesus, said, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV.
When we ponder this thought, there is so much depth that lies within. Today, when we look around, it seems like every month there is a new line of clothing, bags, shoes, new miracle-working pills, slimming equipment, or countless cheap do-it-yourself gadgets. The infomercials and commercials are endless. But after a few months, we lose interest only to find something new is on the market. When we look at the designer labels we know they get their title not only from their price but because they have been around for years. They have worked hard and long to create a brand that can be trusted. Their products are long-lasting and reliable. After many products have come and gone, these designers stand the test of time, proving them to be genuine. So too, it is with believers. When we stay the course, keep our eyes on Jesus and count the cost, then our lives declare to the world that the Jesus we serve is real.
A test of time, trials, persecutions, delays, and obstacles are all considered “time in the furnace”, but it is always necessary to show value and the genuineness. As we read through the pages of the Bible repeatedly, all the men went through great testing, trials, and persecution. Through it all, they have finished strong because they counted the cost, kept their eyes on their God, and still today the nation of Israel stands to prove to the world they are the nation separated unto God.
The Apostle Paul urged us to get rid of the heavy weight of sin or impurities that have only the ability to weigh us down in Hebrews 12:1 – 2 He also encouraged us not to get tired in the journey but to keep doing good because the reward that awaits us is greater than the troubles we face in the present. Jesus received the reward of the souls he died for. The Apostle Paul received Jesus as his prize and added more souls to the kingdom of God. Today you can also receive Jesus, His strength, His grace, His mercy, His anointing, His wisdom, and His endurance to finish stronger in 2019!
Thanks for reading!