You in Five Years: Pitfalls
This series is called You in Five Years. You in Five Years, and we’re asking the question, who will I be by 2024? And who do I want to be by the time a half decade goes by? During the process of becoming the person you want to be in five years you will encounter potential pitfalls along the way. This week we examine a few pitfalls and how we can avoid them on our journey over the next 5 years.
Bottom Line: Watch out to get taken out.
Something To Talk About:
Who will you be in 2024? What do you want to accomplish 60 months from now. Often getting to where you want to be is to deal with the pitfalls we will encounter along the way. Think in these terms:
- Fear: Fear is the uneasy feeling we’re inadequate. It’s an alarm that goes off when we feel threatened. It can keep us from reaching our spiritual goals because when fear wins out we won’t become the person we want to be today or in the future. So when fear strikes us, we need to face it head on. Start by asking what are you afraid of? Are you afraid of failure that will lead to criticism? Are you afraid of failure that will lead to rejection from someone you love or admire? Are you afraid your weaknesses and inadequacies will be exposed or that others will withdraw from you completely? Then admit your fear and turn immediately to the matter of your faith. In other words, believe; it is the solution for fear. As you journey forward in life, don’t be surprised when fear emerges. Remember, nothing good in life comes without a struggle against fear. The key is to run headlong at fear with your faith in Christ Jesus and your confidence firmly set in Him.
- Immaturity: Maturity is an elusive concept. There is a belief prevalent in business that when you want something done, you give it to someone who is already busy. At first glance, that makes no sense, because how is that individual supposed to find the time to do more? But wait: How did they get to where they are? By assuming responsibility, stewarding this responsibility, and thereby growing this responsibility. It is the same with becoming spiritually mature. It’s like the guy who turned the five talents the master gave him into 10 (Matthew 25:14-30). Maturity requires us to roll up our sleeves and give of our time and energy to grow. And growing requires us to invest in the things of God.
- Distractions: Life and all that it entails has become extremely complex today. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and streaming entertainment are just a few examples of things that can consume our time and energy and become major distractions in our lives today. With the many distractions around us, we also struggle to find a deep, satisfying relationship with God. We lose Him in the myriad of things that cloud our minds. Spiritual disciplines like Bible-reading, prayer, and being in community take a back seat in our lives. Our treasure is no longer just God, but those other things that occupy our thoughts and actions. Those distractions also bring a danger of becoming superficial in our relationship with God. We are often content with skimming the surface, rather than putting in the time and effort necessary for a more satisfying and intimate relationship with Him. The solution is to prioritize our lives around God. It’s not necessarily about making huge cuts or changes to your schedule. It is more about making a commitment of getting up earlier or staying up later to get refueled by spending that set apart time with Jesus. It’s about using your skills and strengths to further the Kingdom. It’s about daily tapping into a supernatural strength that will equip us to do everything else we need to.
- How do we identify the pitfalls and challenges we face in our walk with God? How does time, say five years, change or alter those pitfalls?
- To what extent does fear influence your decision making? Why are you fearful? What truth about God gives you courage in the midst of fear?
- What can you do this week to identify and defang your fear? What can you do to begin to believe and live as though God’s love has the power to overcome your fear?
- If the first step in growing up is to recognize the symptoms, what are the other steps in becoming mature spiritually?
- How does the knowledge that “Only God makes things grow” impact your prayer life? Your devotions? Your service?
- If we are a distracted people, a distracted society, it stands to reason that we would also be distracted spiritually. What are some of the major distractions?
- Distractions equal shallow thinking which equals shallow living: agree or disagree and why?
- How are you using your strengths to serve God?
- What part of this message resonated with you?
- What can we do this week to put this message into practice?
Take one thing home with you
We can’t become the person we want to be overnight. It takes time and steady progress. It also takes aligning our priorities around God’s priorities. German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe grasped the importance of priorities. He said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
As Christians we need to regularly take an honest look at our current priorities. Reflect on your life right now to consider what factors most determine how you choose to live. Where are you investing most of your time, money, and energy? Which relationships and activities do you devote yourself to every day? Where do you currently place God on your list of priorities? If your relationship with God isn’t your top priority right now, what specific changes do you need to make in your life to devote yourself to God first?
Our relationship with God should be our highest priority, over everyone and everything else in our life. Then every day for the next five years remind yourself of your decision, and then you’ll avoid wasting time and energy on what doesn’t really matter, and will help align your priorities around the priorities of God.