It’s in our nature to love to start things.
But the problem isn’t with how we start something, but how we finish it.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 ESV - Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 MSG - Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out.
3 key areas to finishing well.
Remain in God.
John 15:4 NIV - Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
We need to make a decision that we will remain.
Remain in the house of God
Remain in the word of God
Remain in the presence of God
Even if our circumstances change, or our situations change, we must choose to remain in a God who doesn’t change.
Psalm 92:12-13 ESV - The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.
“When we see a noble palm standing erect, sending all its strength upward in one bold column, and growing amid the dearth and drought of the desert, we have a fine picture of the godly man or woman, who in his uprightness aims alone at the glory of God; and, independent of outward circumstances, is made by divine grace to live and thrive where all things else perish.” (Spurgeon)
God is calling us to remain in him. Everything else is built around this.
Maybe it’s been a great year - God is calling you to remain in him.
Maybe it’s been a year to forget - God is calling you to remain in him.
Once we have made a decision to remain we can move on to the next stage which it to:
Finishing well requires stopping and looking back on where you’ve been.
We REFLECT by doing the following things:
1) Review - what have I learnt? Where have I grown?
James 1:2-4 ESV - Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
What areas am I being perfected in?
Maybe there are things that have happened this year that at time they didn’t make sense, but when you look back you can see the hand of God?
2) Retrace - Look how far you’ve come. Where were you a year ago? What breakthroughs have you had this year?
This one is so important - looking at how far you’ve come.
What areas have you had a breakthrough in?
3) Rejoice - what am i thankful for?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Finishing well means giving thanks for all the things God has done for us.
What can you be thankful for in 2017?
Examples: Health, work, family, the church, God's grace... and the list goes on.
4) Refocus - think about next year, about what you want to achieve, what God is calling you to do, who he is calling you to be.
Next year is an opportunity to step up.
Next year is an opportunity to step out
Next year is an opportunity to step forward.
In order to run into next year you need to get filled up.