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The difference between having great year and a terrible year

Well, it’s official… the holidays are behind us. We’ve opened all the presents, ate all the cookies, and stayed up till midnight to welcome in the New Year (or at least watch the people in NYC stay up till midnight). Now we move forward. We are back at work, getting the kids up for school and trying to live out our New Year’s Resolutions for at least another few days.

But what if there was something more important than hitting the gym, starting the diet, cutting down on our screen time or starting a new hobby in 2020?

The truth is that over the next 12 months we can get into the best shape of our lives, read 25 books, and get the promotion and it can still be a year straight from our nightmares. How? We neglect ONE THING… our integrity.

Proverbs 11: 3 tells us, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”

We neglect this area and all of our success and achievements in 2020 will be for nothing. We really see this verse play out in the historical account of David, the King of Israel, when he commits adultery and eventually murder. If you aren’t familiar with the story you can check it out in 2 Samuel 11-12. (It's about a 3 minute read). As you read it you will find that this man had it all… the fame, the wealth, the glory – and still destroyed the lives of those around him.

So how can we ensure this doesn’t happen to us? We learn from his example and focus on 4 simple things that could make all the difference in 2020…

1)Think through the small decisions

David was a king so he obviously had some major decisions to make – but what got him into trouble were the small decisions he made…

One: He made the decision to be in the wrong place. When the kings customarily went off to war – he stayed home. This decision put him in a location he should have never been in. He would have never seen Bathsheba if he was where he was supposed to be.

Two: He made the decision to be lazy. Vs 2 says, “ One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing.”

Yes you read that correctly – one “evening” David got out of bed. In other words – He was living a very lazy lifestyle. Laziness breeds a lack of satisfaction. The decision to be lazy set David up for failure and it can do the same for us in 2020. Not just because it keeps us from being productive, but it creates a boredom that we naturally want to fill.

A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. Proverbs 13:4

We see this play out in David’s life – so we must assume it can play out in our life.

These are small decisions that probably didn’t seem significant at the time – but had he focused on these small decisions he would have never been in a position to make the BIG decision.

2) Address the Sin before it snowballs.

If we have sin running rampant in our life as we start this new year – we must address it NOW!! It will not go away. Just look at what happens to David…

David’s laziness leads to lust, lust leads to adultery, adultery leads to deceiving Bathsheba’s husband, and deception leads to his murder!!

The sin, addictions and toxic behaviors we had in 2019 are only going to get worse in 2020 if we don’t address them. Sin will always take more than we think it will. Learn from David’s mistakes – address the sin before it snowballs.

3)Have someone who can speak the truth to you

It wasn’t until a friend of David finally confronted him that he even realized he had done something wrong. The truth is that it often takes someone with an outside perspective on our life to show us our blind spots. Giving someone the freedom to speak truth into our life in 2020 could mean the difference between success and failure. Do you have a mentor? A counselor? A trusted friend? If not- GET ONE!!!

4) When you fail – Run to God

One positive example that David set was that he didn’t stay in the misery of his own regret and remorse. Instead in Psalm 51 he confessed his sin to God and experienced the forgiveness that only He can provide.

This year you will make some stupid decisions. You will have impure thoughts and motives. You will harbor resentment and cast judgment. You will explode in anger and give in to temptation… But when you do – don’t stay there. Run back to God and experience the forgiveness that only He can bring.

Focusing on these 4 things in 2020 may not help you lose weight or increase your retirement fund – but they could make all the difference between having a great year and a terrible year.

Jesus reminds us of a very important question to ask ourselves as we kick start this year…“ What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?"

You want to have a year worth celebrating come December 31st of 2020? Do whatever it takes to guard your integrity!

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