Craig Groeschel - You In Five Years
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I wonder if you've ever stopped to think about what your life will look like five years from now. You stop just to think about however old you are now. Add five years to it and ask, what do you think your life is going to look like five years from now? I wanna help you visualize and I'm gonna give you four different categories to think about and try to project for what your life might look like. We're gonna start with spiritually, what will your life look like spiritually? We're gonna ask, what will your life look like relationally? What will your life look like financially? And what will you be like physically five years from now?
Let's start with your spiritual life and what is the trajectory of your spiritual life saying about your future spiritual life? For some of you might say, based on what I'm doing now, five years from now, I'll probably be closer to God than I ever have been before. I'm gonna know more of His word is dwelling in my heart. I'm being directed by the spirit of God, my ministry, my impact is growing and I'm reaching more people and I'm becoming more like Jesus. Five years from now, spiritually, I'll probably have the peak and it's gonna go even higher. Or for some of you, you're kind of hitting this spiritually right now, getting to church is kind of difficult for you. Some of the old sins are creeping back up and five years from now, you might be not doing as well spiritually. You might have lost a little bit of faith. You might have fallen back into some old patterns. You might have become lukewarm, you might have even drifted from God. What do you think your life will look like five years from now spiritually?
Let's talk about relationships. We'll start with your friends and then maybe talk about family. Friends, five years from now, you're developing some great God honoring friendships. You're gonna be stronger. You're sharpening one another. You've got rich friendships, or maybe you don't really have very good friends, and those you have are a bad influence on you. What will your friendships look like? If you're married five years from now, based on where you are, you could be closer than you ever have been before. You could have a level of intimacy in your marriage that you didn't even know was possible, or based on your trajectory, you're continuing to struggle. You don't even feel you trust your spouse, you may be fighting to stay married. Some of you, five years from now, you will be divorced and your marriage didn't make it. Where will you be relationally five years from now?
Financially, some of you, based on your trajectory, you're gonna be debt free, baby, no more student loan, no more car payment, no more credit card payment. You've got financial margin. You've able to be more generous than you ever have been before. Or others of you, you're gonna continue on the same path, still live paycheck to paycheck. Maybe the debt will grow, maybe the financial pressure will grow, and you're gonna find yourself worse off five years from now than you are right now.
Physically, where will you be five years from now? The great news is, believe it or not, even though you're five years older, you actually can be stronger. You can be healthier. You can maybe become more energetic and more healthy than you've ever been before, or five years from now, you may be more tired, more unhealthy and lacking in energy. I want you to just stop for a moment in the big categories of life and ask yourself, where do you think you'll be five years from now? What do you think your life will look like? I'm gonna tell you, for the most part what it'll look like, and I want to acknowledge that there are some external forces outside of our control, so we can never be completely accurate in our predictions, but for the most part, we can predict with a high degree of accuracy what your life will look like in five years. Why? Because the habits you have today will shape who you become tomorrow.
Let me say it again. The habits that you have today will shape who you become tomorrow. Somebody said that when you're born, you'll look like your parents. How many of you say you kinda look like your parents when you're born? When you're born, you look like your parents. When you die, you look like your habits, right? Because the way you're living today shapes who you become tomorrow. And you know it's true because who you are today, for the most part is a reflection of the habits and the lifestyle you lived five years ago, have been pointing to the person that you become today.
So for the most part, with some exceptions based on external factors, for the most part, the habits you have today will shape who you become tomorrow. The question I have for you is this, do you like the direction your habits are taking you? Do you like the trajectory of your life based on your current habits? Because intentions do not determine direction. No matter what you want, what you want doesn't determine what you become. Hope doesn't change your life alone. Habits do. Intentions don't determine direction. Your habits determine direction. So the title for today's message is, "You in Five Years", and with that, let's pray together.
Father, we asked that today your word would inspire faith and hope and the right habits to sow seeds of godliness into our lives. that we could reap a harvest of righteousness to honor you. We pray, God, that you'll speak to us today and will be different in your presence and by the power of your word. In Jesus' name we pray and everybody said, amen and amen.
Let's look at the word of God. And the word of God is living, it's active. It's powerful, it's convicting, and is gonna convict me and you today. Galatians chapter six, the Apostle Paul said this. He said, do not be deceived. Everybody say, don't be deceived. Don't be deceived. Type it in the comment section, if you're watching online, type it in. Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. Everybody say God cannot be mocked. God cannot be mocked. Don't be fooled. Don't be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, that's our sinful nature. Whoever sows to please the flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction. Whoever though sows to please not the flesh, but to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Paul said, let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Scripture says, do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A very literal translation is, don't be stupid. Paul's words are very, very strong and he's simply giving us, essentially giving us two options. He says, if you're sowing to the flesh, in other words, if you have habits or a lifestyle that reflects your sinful nature, from that, you will reap destruction. On the other hand, if you sow seeds or habits of the Spirit, you'll reap eternal life. Destruction and death or eternal life and godliness. If this seems heavy, it's because it is, because it's true, you reap what you sow.
Do you like the direction that your habits are taking you? Do you like the harvest that's coming because of the seeds that you're sowing? Let's review where we've been today. We're wrapping up the message series, The Power to Change. We'll go back to the very first week and we learned the very important principle that real and lasting change isn't behavior modification. What is it? Is spiritual transformation. Type that in the comment section. It's spiritual transformation. If you just change the behavior, but don't let God change the heart, the behavior will come back. Real and lasting change. It's not just us trying to change, it's spiritual transformation by the power of God.
In the first week we started with identity. Why do you do what you do? Primarily, you do what you do because of what you think of you. We start with identity, and so we've been building week over week over week on the spiritual principles. The first week we started with your spiritual who. Who is it that God is calling you to be? We start with identity. If you wanna change what you do, change how you think of you. Then we looked at our spiritual why. We don't just want to change because we want to be more wealthy or be healthier. We want to change because we wanna honor God with the way that we live. We have a spiritual who. We have a spiritual why.
Then we looked at our spiritual what. That's the habits and we answer the question based on who you wanna become, what one habit do you need to start? And when we have the right habits, that reinforces the godly identity that helps us to become more like Christ. We have the spiritual who, the spiritual why, the spiritual what. Then we had our spiritual what not, and that's the habits that we're going to remove. Based on who you want to become, what one habit do you need to stop to get out of your life something that is not God honoring?
Last week we looked at the spiritual how. Remember, how do we change? We're not trying. What are we doing? Help me out, we're in training. We're training for righteousness. We're not trying to be righteous. We train our bodies like an athlete to become who God called us to become. This week we're gonna add to it the spiritual impact to drive the final message home. How you live will determine who you become. And over time, the seeds that you're sowing today will bring about a harvest in the future. The habits you have today will shape who you become tomorrow. It's in the word of God. It's from Galatians 6, and I'll call it the laws of sowing and reaping. They're laws. The laws are always true. They're established by God. It's like the law of gravity. If I fell off this platform, the law says I fall down. I'll never fall up. Whoop, I just fell up. You don't do that.
These are laws that are always true. And I want to give you the three laws of sowing and reaping. Do you like the direction that your habits are taking you? The first one is this. Number one. Law number one is you reap what you sow. Let's say it loud. Number one, you reap what you sow. Number two, let's say it loud. You reap more than you sow. You don't just reap what you sow, but you reap more than you sow. Number three, when do you reap? Number three, you reap after you sow. Let's say 'em aloud. Number one, you reap what you sow. You reap more than you sow, you reap after you sow. Let's break 'em down one by one. The first one we're gonna talk about is this. You reap what you sow. If you sow a certain type of seed, you reap a certain type of a plant. If you plant an apple seed, you get an apple tree, you don't get grapes, right?
Very obvious, but it's important to understand you reap what you sow. In other words, if you plant godly habits, you'll reap godly outcomes. And the opposite is true as well. If you're living ungodly habits, you'll reap ungodly outcomes. In fact, scripture says it in Hosea chapter 10, verse 13, but you have planted what, scripture says? You've planted wickedness, and so what did you reap? You reaped evil. You reap what you sow. If your habits are always bad, your harvest is not gonna be good. If you're late to work every day and you got some half-hearted attitude of, I want to be promoted, I'm not doing anything, and you got a bad attitude every day, you are not likely to be promoted. It's not because you weren't promotable, it's because your habits didn't earn the attention of those around you. If you sow seeds of lust all the time and you look at porn and you objectify women and you wonder why you don't have intimacy in your marriage, it's not because your marriage isn't good, it's because you sowed bad seeds and you're reaping a bad harvest.
Same with physically. If you eat anything you want and you never, ever exercise and you drink a six pack of beer every weekend and wonder why you don't have a six pack here, this is not a punishment, it's a harvest. It's a result of what you've planted. So if you reap what you sow, write this down. If you don't like what you're reaping, change what you're sowing. Oh, this is good. If you don't like what you're getting back, look at what you're planting in the ground. If you don't like it in your relationships, look at the seeds you're sowing. If you don't like it financially, look at how you're living. If you don't like it spiritually, look at what you're doing spiritually. If you don't like what you're reaping, change what you're sowing. Principle number one is you reap what you sow. Principle number two is you reap more than you sow, because when you sow, what does God do? God multiplies it. God multiplies it.
Scripture says it this way. Jesus said this in Mark's Gospel, chapter 4, verse 20, and the seed that fell on the good soil, represents those who hear and accept God's word and produces a harvest of what? It produced a harvest of 30, 60, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted. One seed can reap a hundred times as much as was planted. You plant a seed, you get a tree, and the tree creates fruits and the fruit has more seeds, and you can plant the seed to the ground and you get more fruit from the trees, because you reap more than you sow.
This is true in every area of life. You're nice to a lot of people and they're nice back. You walk in shooting the bird, people aren't nice back. It's true in your marriage. Amy multiplies, she is a multiplier. If I treat her with honor and cherish her and love her, she loves me back way better than I ever deserved. She multiplies. If I give her a hard time, she multiplies and she gives me hell back, because you reap more than you sow. She's laughing louder than anybody. In fact, oh, she's sweet. Yes, she is sweet until I'm not. Okay. And then you see how it goes.
I'll illustrate it with a book. This is a book that, one of the books that I have my kids read. I have three sons-in-law, and this is one of the books they read in training to take the hand of my daughter. It's a good book. It's called The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success. In one sentence, this is kind of summarizes what he teaches in the book. He teaches that small, smart choices plus consistency plus time equals a radical difference. I love this. Small, smart choices plus consistency plus time equals a radical difference. And he tells a story of someone in there that involves 125 calories both ways. I'm going to tell that part of the story and then I'm gonna add my own spiritual twist to the story and bring you an illustration about the same guy with two different scenarios. Same guy, two different scenarios, and we're gonna start it with inconsistency in church and consistency in church.
Scenario number one, the guy is inconsistent in church, goes when is convenient, he feels a little guilty about that, and then he stays up late feeling a little guilty. He drinks a glass of wine every night. He adds a second glass of wine to his ritual. He's not close to God, because he is been drifting and feeling guilty, and he slips back into looking at stuff that he shouldn't look at. He's inconsistent and it compounds into things that he's not as proud of. The other guy is consistent in church. He's serving. He goes to bed early, he's really close to God. He doesn't slip back into porn, because he is spiritually walking with God. He reads his Bible, and he's moving in the right direction.
There is almost no noticeable difference between these two scenarios in the first week. You couldn't tell, a month you can't tell, a few months, you can barely tell. At month 27, there is a measurable difference. Some of what I'll tell you is subjective. One thing is absolutely objective. At 27 months, the guy who's been inconsistent, he added a glass of wine, which adds 125 additional calories. For 27 months, that's 117,000 more calories, and he will have gained 33 and a half pounds simply adding one glass of wine. He feels distant from God. He loses confidence. He struggles at work. He's overlooked for his promotion. He has more financial pressure at home. His wife says he's distant and not paying attention. He slips more into porn, which makes him more distant. His wife catches him looking at porn, and he doesn't know what's gonna happen in his life. And it all started with inconsistency.
Take the second one who is consistent in church. He's serving. He's closer to God than ever before. And he heard every single week of the series, The Power to Change, and the habit he took out of his life was drinking wine, because it was unnecessary calories and didn't do anything and it made his teeth kind of red. So he cut out 125 calories a day, and over a 27 month period, he lost 33 and a half pounds. He was no longer trying to be close to God. He was in training to be close to God. He was promoted at work, he took the extra money and paid off debt. They started to be more generous. They got to go on a vacation. Their marriage was more intimate than ever before. They had a growing spiritual impact and it started with consistency in the things of God.
Some of that is obviously subjective that I made up. The part about the weight is not. 67 pounds difference on 125 calories a day over a 27 month period. That alone explains the principle, that it's not what you do occasionally that makes the difference. It's what you do consistently. It's small, consistent habits done over time that equals either a positive result, or if you're planting the wrong kinds of seeds, it equals a negative result. If you don't like what you're reaping today, change what you're sowing. Because the bottom line is, you reap what you sow. You reap more than you sow. And number three, you reap after you sow. You reap after, you reap in a different season. If you plant seeds fall, you don't reap in fall. You reap in spring. And this is the very reason sometimes we get so discouraged.
The reason sometimes we get so discouraged, is because we don't see progress fast enough, right? You pray every day for five straight days, and at the end of five straight days, you don't feel really that much different spiritually. Where's the change? Or you go to the gym every day for two weeks and at the end of going the gym for two weeks, you still can't run a whole mile. You going, what's wrong with me? I'm doing the right thing. Or you're paying off your debt. And so you don't buy coffee all month long and you save a hundred dollars to put toward your debt, and now you don't owe $37,500 on your college loan. You owe $37,400 and you're going, this takes too long. And we wrongly conclude that small decisions don't matter that much, but we have to understand that for the most part, our lives are the sum total of all the small decisions that we make. Because in every action you take, you're choosing direction. It's not intentions that determine direction, it's the habits and the way that you live your life.
So, who do you wanna become? What type of person do you wanna be? Why do you wanna be that? I pray, that you spend enough time in God's presence, that you know the who that he wants you to be. And it's not a selfish why, but it's a spiritual why. And so based on who you wanna become, what habit do you need to start? And based on who you wanna become, what one habit do you need to stop? And then we're not gonna try to be better. We're gonna try to be, no, no, we're in training. We're in training. We're training our bodies for righteousness. We're training our minds to think on the word of God. Because what we plant, we will reap. The way that we're living today will impact who you become, what you have, what kind of difference you can make, how you feel on the inside, how you impact people on the outside.
So are we successful if we finally hit the goal five years from now? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We don't have to wait till then. We don't judge the success of the day by the harvest that we reap, but by the seeds we sow. We're sowing righteousness, we're sowing righteousness, we're small, consistent, God honoring living added up over time equals a harvest of righteousness, equals relationships that honor God, equals a ministry and a legacy, something that you can be proud of, equals financial strength and generosity, equals a God honoring body, the best of what He gives us. Honoring Him with wise choices, so we can live for His full glory in all that we do. Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. You reap what you sow, and you reap more than you sow, and you reap after you sow.
So if you don't like what you're reaping, change what you're sowing. And when you consistently and faithfully honor God with wise decisions and you let Jesus lead you and empower you to God honoring habits, your hard work and your disciplines and your sacrifices and your faithfulness, they're not being wasted. They're being stored up. Think of it this way, think of it like hot water. You start to put some heat on water, and what does the water do? The water warms up slowly, it warms up to 80 degrees and then a little more fire, it gets hotter and it warms up to 140 degrees, and it gets a little hotter and it warms up to 180 degrees, and then it warms up to 200 degrees and then 204 degrees, and then 205, 211 degrees.
What do you have? Really hot water. But when it was up one more degrees to 212 degrees, what do you have? You have a boiling, hot bowl of water. What happens when you live faithfully for Jesus, over time? The fire of God starts to burn within your soul, and one day you're burning, one day you're on fire. One day you're reaping a harvest of righteousness, and people look, oh, they go, wow, wow, wow. You were an overnight success. No, you weren't an overnight success. They look on, oh, you just were lucky. You were born into the right family, you weren't lucky. You were faithful. You were consistent. All that you had done, what they will never, ever see is they'll never see you renewing your mind with righteousness and they'll never see you overcoming self-doubt and praying and praying and praying and fasting and seeking God and depending on Him.
And when you're weak, depending on Him, and repenting of sin and falling down and getting back up again and the early mornings and the late nights and enduring criticism, because when you start doing something good, all of a sudden people show up to tear you down and you do the right thing and you grind it out and you're faithful and you're persistent and you're consistently faithful in the small things, because it's the things that no one else sees that brings about the results everybody wants. You're planting seeds, you're planting seeds, and God is watering it. And over time you reap a harvest of righteousness.
I came to tell somebody, don't give up. Don't stop planting. Don't stop sowing. Don't stop believing. Don't stop renewing your mind. Don't stop turning back to God. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. It's not easy. It won't be overnight, but you will reap a harvest of righteousness for the glory of God, if you do not give up. So if you ever stop to think about what will your life be like five years from now? Because when you're born, you look like your mom and your dad, but when you die, you look like your habits.
Do you like the direction that your habits are taking you? If you don't like what you're reaping, change what you're selling. Plant the right seeds, the right habits, faithfully over time and God's principles are true. You will, you will, you will, you will reap a harvest of righteousness if you don't give up.
So God, we pray that no matter what types of seeds we planted in the past, you would give us the wisdom, the courage, the faithfulness to plant godly seeds today.
As you're praying today at all of our churches, those of you who would say, I want a harvest of righteousness, I want a harvest of righteousness. God help me to plant the right seeds. Help me to have the right habits today. If you wanna pray that, if more importantly, if you wanna live that, would you lift up your hands right now? Just lift up your hands. Online, just type it in the chat.
God help me to plant the right seeds. God help me to plant the right seeds. Father, we just ask that in your presence, we thank you for your grace. We thank you for your forgiveness. God, show us any area of our lives where our habits are taking us away from you. Give us the wisdom. God give us the courage to admit it, to confess it, and to plant seeds of righteousness. God, based on who you want us to become, show us what one habit you want us to start. What one habit you want us to stop. God, help us to train to become who you want us to be. And God, we thank you for your laws of faithfulness that we know we will reap what we sow. We wanna sow righteousness. We'll reap more than we sow, we want more righteousness and we'll reap after we sow. God we know that we'll reap a harvest of righteousness when we don't give up. God, give us patience. Give us endurance. Give us courage to do the right things even when nobody's looking, maybe especially when nobody's looking. Gotta help us to plant seeds of righteousness for a life that would honor you.
As you keep praying today, the greatest seed ever planted, the greatest gift was when God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son Jesus. Who is Jesus, the perfect, sinless son of God, who became the innocent sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. When you look at your life and you take an objective kind of honest look, you have to admit you've done some things you're ashamed of and embarrassed by, you feel guilty for. Scripture calls those things sin. We're missing the mark of holiness. And all of us, every single one of us, we've all fallen short of God's standard, we've all sinned. Jesus, the only one who was without sin died in our place. He was buried and God raised him from the dead.
We could say that the seed was planted and now could create a harvest of righteousness because of his one life given, your life could be changed forever. Wherever you're watching from, no matter what you've done, no matter how bad your life has been, when you call on his name, he forgives your sins and he makes you brand new and you trust him with your life and he will fill you with the power of His Holy Spirit and you become completely new wherever you are. Those of you who say, I need his grace, I need his forgiveness today. I step away from my old life and by faith I give my life to Him today, I trust Him. I surrender Jesus, I give you my life. When you do, He hears your prayers. He forgives your sins. He makes you brand new.
Wherever you are, those who say yes today, I call on Him. I surrender my life. Jesus, I give you my life. It's your prayer. Lift your hands high right now. All over the place, lift them up and say yes, praise God for you guys, both of you there. Oh my God, come on somebody. Let's worship God, others of you today, who say, yes, both of you right here, but praise God for you saying yes, Jesus, oh, come on. We worship you, God, online you can just type in the comment section. I'm surrendering my life to Jesus. I'm surrendering. Just type that in the comment section. We're all gonna plant a seed of faith today in this prayer. Pray:
Heavenly Father, forgive all of my sins, Jesus, save me. Make me brand new. Fill me with your spirit so I can know you and serve you with all of my life. Help me to plant seeds of righteousness, to have a harvest that honors you, a life that brings you glory. My life is not my own. I give it all to you. Thank you for new life. You have all of mine. In Jesus' name, I pray.