Levi Lusko - The Life You Get Stuck With
Hey, we're starting a series. And it's called You In Five Years. You In Five Years. That's the collection of talks that we're going to be spending some time in this beginning of this New Year Testament '18. You In Five Years. Take that little trip with me, if you will. And imagine, right now, if you could picture your age in front of you as a giant number. Like, imagine someone brought balloons in on your birthday, and they were spelling the number of your age. So picture that. And now go five years forward, and picture that number. And try and picture yourself at that age. Try and see in your mind, if you can, you in five years. My wife and I are both 35. So five years ago, of course, we were 30. And now, we're halfway through this decade.
And if I think of us in five years, we're both 40. I'm excited about that. I can't wait to be 40. I've heard so many great things about that. I've loved my 30s. It's been amazing. I can't wait to see what 40 holds. And I hope you're excited about you in five years. I hope you're excited about that next season of your life, and you believe that God's already gone before you into that new year. I think, sometimes, when it comes to the new year and all of our planning for change and all of our hopes for transformation, the problem is oftentimes we think too small. A mentor of mine told me a while back that most of us underestimate what we can do in the long-term, but we overestimate what we can do in the short-term. That's our problem. We look at a short period of time, and we think we can do so much in the short-term. And we look at a long period of time, and we underestimate what we can actually accomplish if we just stick with it.
Trouble is, so many of us have tragically short attention spans. And the stick-with-it-ness is evaporating from younger generations, millennial and younger. We jump ship the moment we're not happy anymore. We jump ship the moment we're not ecstatic anymore. And we just don't stay with stuff long enough to really see significant impact. That's certainly true in ministry. I mean, the average pastor in America, I think it's less than three years they make it in a church. Youth pastors, it's two years. How can you really make an impact in a community or in anyone's lives if you don't give yourself long enough to hit your stride? I wonder if the same isn't true in so many different situations and certainly relationships and many areas of life. We overestimate what we can do in the short-term. And we underestimate what we could do in the long-term if we just stuck with it. That is the acorn this series, hopefully, will grow into an oak out of.
That is the heart behind You In Five Years. We're not just going to start a new year going, OK, here's what's on the line between me and 2019. Here's what I'm going to do in the next 12 months. No, we're going to think bigger than that. We're going to go out, and we're going to say this. Who could I be by the time it's 2023, if I get after it, if I give it all I got, if I trust the God who made the Heaven and the earth, and who is for me and not against me, who gave me His Son, who gave me His spirit, who could I be 60 months from now? That's the question that's on our heart. If you have a Bible, join me in Romans chapter 13. If you don't, no problem. We're going to put the Scriptures on the screen. Title of my message is The Life You Get Stuck With. Jot that down. The Life You Get Stuck With. Romans chapter 13 is where we are going to be. Paul says, and I'm reading out of the Message translation, "But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted", is that already describing you? "Absorbed", dang it, I'm five words in, and I'm already convicted, "absorbed and exhausted" in what? "taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing"!
What is he doing? "God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed". I wish I could take some time and talk to you about how salvation occurs in three phases. About how when you get saved initially, it's justification, where you are saved from the penalty of sin. Where, one day, when you get to Heaven, you will be saved from the very presence of sin in a process of your salvation called glorification. But in between salvation and glorification is a phase called sanctification where you are being saved from the power of sin, day by day, as you yield yourself to God, set yourself apart to Holiness and watch God do wonders among you. But I don't got time to talk about that. Verse 13 says, "We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger".
Does that describe life for many? Loitering and laying around. I don't know. Just kind of hanging about. "Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute". I'll serve God when I'm older. I want to have some fun while I'm young. This is when I'm free. I want to go. And I go out. I want to see the world, right? I just watch, eventually I'll get right, don't wait until the very last minute. "Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about"! Come on, that's good. "Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about"! The New King James, the way I memorized it, put it this way, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust". Would you pray with me?
God, we're so thankful for the way it already refreshes us, or charges us, energizes us, just to even read your Word. And we pray even now that you would bless the reading of your Word, which you have promised to. You said Heaven and earth will pass away, but your Word never will. And so these things are eternal. There's something different about this. There's a lot of words. CNN is full of words. And s and tweets and texts. There's a lot of words. But there's something different about these words. There's something eternal about these words. And I pray that even as they are now cutting through, dissolving things, melting hardness in our hearts, quickening us to hear what you're doing, our lives feel so urgent. In Our lives feel so important. It's easy to be frantically running to and fro, absorbed and exhausted in all the day to day stuff that we forget to look up and realize you're doing something. And you're inviting us to be a part of something. And, God, we don't want to miss out on anything. We want all you have for us. We want that in this year. We want that in the next five years. And we want that forever. We don't ever want you to look at our lives and say it could have been if only you would have. We want to tap into all that. Be in the moment, be alert and about, present, dressed in Christ, making no provision for the flesh. And we ask that if a single person has come into our midst who doesn't know you, Jesus, who is without God, without hope in this world, that whatever they're looking to fill the hole in their heart, whether it's possessions or accomplishments or relationships or substances, whatever they do to dull that ache, that throbbing sense that they were made for more, we pray that through that the power of your Holy Spirit you would draw them to yourself, and they would be saved this day. And we ask this in Jesus' name. And everyone who agreed said Amen.
You in five years. You know, five years is enough time to accomplish quite a bit. I sat down this week and just got to thinking with my imagination what someone could do if they gave serious effort for five years. And, man, I made two lists, actually. Positive and negative. Five years is a long time to do a lot of good, but you could also do a lot of evil. On my positive list, I wrote this down. You could basically be fluent in a new language. Think about it. I mean, if you want, you're, like, I want to learn French. I want to learn what it means in "Home Alone" when she says "les incompetents". I've always wanted, you know what the French, I don't know. I don't know what Kevin is. You could learn French in five years. And it's easier than it's ever been. Rosetta Stone. Duolingo. I mean, there is so much that is out there that we could take advantage of. So much more than cat videos on YouTube that the internet has brought into our lives.
There was a day when it would be uncommon to meet someone who didn't speak a number of languages. I speak 75% of one language. But in five years, if I wanted to, by five years from now, I could speak another language. You could get a degree. You could say, you know what? I'm back to school. Five years? Yeah, I think so. I mean, you go through high school in four. You could, through night classes and internet courses or community college. I mean, you could five years from now, have a whole different world of opportunity opened up to you if you took advantage of it. And not just, like, a formal degree, like, that's the thing. Listen, I'm not against formal education. I think that many of you are going to be called to go to college, and to get a degree, and to enter business, and occupy that space for Jesus, and have the pedigree from in the eyes of whatever community you're entering into to be able to do something, and produce wealth, to pour into the Kingdom, to be generous, and to do a lot of good. But we all know that in this day and age, that a degree is not a be-all-end-all guarantee of work.
There's a lot of people who have degrees but cannot find work that that degree opens up for them that they thought it would anyhow. So you could say, well, maybe not just a degree. Perhaps in five years, I could have a new skill. A whole new skill. Is five years long enough to get skilled at something to where you have the aptitude, I think certainly. Certainly five years of pouring yourself into something. That's what my dad always told me, he says, look, I hope you go to college. He went to college and got a broadcasting degree. He told me though, he said: the key isn't just college, college, college. The key is get a marketable skill. A skill there's a market for. And when I pressed what does that mean, he said figure out what you love to do, and then find out how to get people to pay you to do it. That's the key. What I'd tell young people, figure out what you've got a passion for. God gave you something you're great at. And figure out how you can get to a place where people will pay you to do that, and you'll do it so well they'll want to listen to you.
And as you do it so well, and they want to listen to you, you will have natural opportunities to point people to Jesus. And five years is enough time, certainly, if you're at a place where you're, like, I just feel like I'm not in the industry I want to be in. Well, you could, in five years from now be in a different place if you got after it. Or you could binge watch on Netflix for the next five years. I mean, it's completely your choice. That goes on my negative list. Dang it, I got ahead of myself. You could master a sport. I mean, if you are not a runner, you could take up running. I mean, you could easily run a marathon five years from now. Probably an Iron Man. Or you could take up fencing. You know, I've always wanted to sword fight. Always wanted to. Been a passion of mine since I was a little kid. En garde. All right? Go nuts.
Five years, you give yourself to it, give yourself over to it, there's probably a sword fighting communities in your city. You could join a small enclave of sword fighters. It could be amazing. You know what? I hope you do. I really do. I hope that five years from now, I get a letter, like, you know what, Levi? I heard that talk on the podcast. I took up sword fighting. And, now, I want you to come watch me fight in the Olympics. Just invite me to come, and I'll come watch you fight in the Olympics. Don't they call that fencing? Chess? How sick could you be at... you could be a frickin' Bobby Fischer in five years. I wrote this down. You could be jumping out of airplanes in squirrel suits, five years from now. I don't know. Maybe you like that sort of thing. Maybe, like, you're, like, I am the foremost squirrel man. I am doing it. Red Bull pays me to jump out of things wearing my squirrel suit. That's what I do.
Five years, I gave myself over to it. I'm the best squirrel jumper there's ever been. Five years, you could own a house long enough to where it's a good financial move to sell it. In most cases. Five years owning, OK, now it's a good interest and principal and all of that. Now I'm at a place where I could sell this house and flip it or upgrade or whatever. Five years is long enough to do that. If you're a kid, you're, like, you know, I have a goal of saving up to buy this thing. But, man, thousands of dollars. I'm a little kid. How do I do that? Well, if you saved a dollar a day, in five years you'd have $1.825. I'm a little 10-year-old kid with almost two grand? Tithe on it. But listen, you see what I'm saying? Like, that's an amount of money that you could do something great with in just a small period of time. Five years? Well, you could have saved up, if you're diligent at it. Or I wrote this down. You could read 60 books. And all you'd have to do is read a book a month, which boils down if the average length of the book is about 200 pages, to 6 pages a day. How long does it take to read 6 pages? 5 minutes. 5 minutes. 6 pages.
What kind of list could you crush in five years? Some biographies. I encourage you to read biographies: read Winston Churchill's biography. Read the Wright brothers' biography. Read about Amelia Earhart. Read about Abraham Lincoln. Pick people. Read about their lives. Read about what they went through. Read history. Read broadly. Last year, one of my goals was to read more poetry. And so I made it my goal. I always hear references and in great people I respect, they quote poetry. And so I bought this big old book of poems when my family went on our holiday. And every day I diligently sat down and made myself read these dumb little poems. Didn't get any of them. Didn't understand the beauty. Didn't feel the lyrical quality sweeping me away, but I just kept at it. What, I want to read broadly. You could read 60 books. You read some biographies, some history, throw in a little bit of poetry. It could be "Green Eggs and Ham". I'm just saying, just read. Because readers are leaders, and leaders are readers. You could do it. You could read 60 books between now and half of this decade passing by.
How about this one? I wrote this down. You could radically transform your soul, growing closer to God than ever before. You could radically transform your soul, growing closer to God than ever before. Think about it. Jesus was only on this earth for three years. What if you gave the next five years over to seeking His face? He promised those who seek me will find me. The problem isn't unanswered prayers. Oh, I pray to God, didn't answer, the problem is that prayers we never prayed. How much peace do we forfeit because we never go to God in prayer? But if for the next five years, you sought God in prayer, you sought God in Scripture, what about memorization of the Bible? What about reading the Bible? Have you ever read the entire Bible? Aw, man, it's so thick. Look at that. How many pages are in that thing? If you read just two chapters a day, and might I encourage you an Old and a New, an Old and a New, all right? It's going to be a bogged down month in Leviticus otherwise, right? So an Old and a New. Mix these things two together.
There's actually tons of beauty in Leviticus. It all points forward to Jesus. But listen to me. What could happen? In the end of five years, you will have read the Bible three times. I could have read the Bible. You could read it three times. You in five years could have such a knowledge of God's Word. And you could be like Jesus. because whenever he got into a hard spot, his instinct, his reaction was to pull out a Scripture from God's Word. What if every time someone bugged you, what if every time you got tempted to watch porn again or to get drunk on a Friday night again, all of a sudden a verse popped up because you had read it that morning, or you had read it last week. And it was hidden in your heart. So now you are not going to sin against God's Word because you have a sword in your... oh, well, look, we're back to sword fighting. The sword in your hand, like Jesus, who when the Devil came against him, he would go, it is written. It is written, Perry. It is written, Jab. It is written, thrust. Man, I've got sword fighting terminology coming out of my... it was in a poem I read.
OK, so listen. That's just the positive list. There's also a negative list. Five years from now, you could be still going through the final details of a horrifying, messy divorce because of five years of neglecting your spouse. You could be partially through a prison sentence. That's drastic. But the prisons are full. And five years from now, you could be just five years into a 20-year sentence or a 30-year sentence or a life sentence. We get letters from prison on my desk almost every single week. Five years is long enough to get majorly addicted to drugs, even into a life-threatening way. Five years is long enough to have worked five, six, or seven different jobs that you partially applied yourself to before quitting or getting fired. Five years is long enough to rack up a mountain of credit card debt, pack on 30 extra pounds, or smoke 36.500 cigarettes. And all you'd have to do is smoke a pack a day. Oh, you're getting down on cigarettes. One of those pastors, huh? Nah, I get asked sometimes, hey, pastor, can I smoke cigarettes and still be a Christian. And when I say, what do you mean by that? Well, like, will it keep me from going to Heaven. And I'm, like, oh, no, it will get you to Heaven much faster, actually.
So all right, so here's the, deal. Five years is long enough to do a lot for good or for evil. Can we agree? By the time you get to five years from now, you will have had enough road that's been traveled for you to do a lot one way or another. This series is all about, let's make good decisions. Let's make wise decisions. Let's get to five years from now and be pumped on the choices that we have made. Now, this introductory message is honestly just the tip of the spear. On to something disappointing, the average American Jesus follower attends their church once to twice a month. On average, once or twice a month. That's discouraging for me, as someone who spends hours preparing single messages that I give over multiple weeks. Just so you know, that's how I roll. I'll give a message over the course of four or five weeks.
And sometimes I think about how most of you are only going to hear 20% of a given message because you come, skip, skip, come, come, skip, come, come, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, Christmas, come, come. And so I think about how I've got a single message that I break up into multiple weeks, because how much can you really accomplish in 35 minutes? So you'll hear the introduction today. That's just all that's going to happen. You're going to hear... let's just prime the pump. Let's just ask the question. Let's just begin the conversation. This is not even the appetizer yet. This is just the wet towel before the meal, OK? So we're nowhere near the main course. I'm not even going to talk to you about the specials today, OK? It's just appetizer. What I would ask is that you would break that trend and come for this entire series. And I just wonder how different your life could be spiritually if you gather together with God's people for an uninterrupted period of time. I mean, they say it only takes about 30 days to make a habit, because your brain has such a plasticity to it.
So you've seen the other way, sporadic. What could happen if you came? My challenge to you would be to not miss a single week of this series, and hear this entire message that I'm going to give, broken up over the course of a number of weeks. Let me give you my entire message today in a single sentence. This whole message that I got to start the conversation in just one sentence, OK? Here we go. The ways you let in become the ways you are set in. That's my talk. The ways you let in become the ways you are set in. We all have ways. Everyone has ways. I mean, if you go to a big city, and you're still using Google Maps, I just pity you. It's a joke, because there's an awesome app called Waze. It's spelled differently, though. Listen, they say God has His ways.
God has His ways, but you do, too. The Lord's ways may not be our ways, because as the heavens are high above the earth, so the Lord's ways are high above ours past finding out. But He is not the only one with ways. You have your ways. I have my ways. Our ways are how we choose to react. Our ways are the way we choose to speak. Our ways are when we choose to insert ourselves and when we choose not to, when we accept and when we decline, when we stay and when we go. Our passions, your checking account speaks of your ways. Your text message history speaks of your ways. You have your ways, I have mine. Many of our ways were modeled to us by our parents. Our ways, we saw. And we adopted our ways because that's how mom handled conflict. That's how dad spent money. That's how we saw it modeled for us on television. That's how we see it modeled for us on Instagram, our world view, our ways, our actions, our words. I'm trying to caution you, the ways you let in become, eventually, the ways you are set in.
Now sometimes people speak derogatorily about going through the motions. I was just going through the motions, right, kind of phoning it in, not putting your heart into it. Let me just tell you something. Going through the motions is only a problem if you're going through the wrong motions. Getting stuck in your ways can either be the worst thing or the best thing. Regardless, it's not black and white. It's neutral. Getting stuck in your ways is a good thing if you get stuck in the right ways. Does that make sense? Four things, jot it down. I see in this text, number one, time is not on your side. If you like to take notes in church, that's helpful. That's why we give you a little card when you walk in. If you're watching a church online, we provide a really easy way to take notes in the player and then email them to yourself. It's so wicked awesome. And then you click the next tab, the Bible's right there. You can copy and paste the Scripture, in the translation I'm reading it out of, put it into your notes, send it to yourself, live it out. The first thing I want you to jot down is, time is not on your side.
Twice in this text, Paul brought this concept of time up. He said that he doesn't want us to lose track of the time. He wants us to be aware of the time. Then he said, the nights over dawn is about to break. He wants us to understand the timing of things. There's two Greek words for time. One is chronos, and the other is kairos. Chronos is, like, we would have a chronograph function on a watch. That's just generic time. Kairos means strategic time, specific time. So chronos is, like, hey, what time is it? Hey, do you have the time to listen to me whine? Green Day. If you speak of kairos, it's not time general, it's time very specific, OK? Like, when you are at the airport, and they say, hey, we're boarding this group, and then we're boarding babies, and then we're boarding first class, and then we're boarding, and then, finally, it's, like, it's not just generic boarding time anymore.
And it's, like, we're about to close the door. It is time for this plane to leave. It's kairos, strategic time. I mean, this is about to open, this is about to close, and when it's over, Paul, he said it. The night is about to be over. The dawn is about to break. He's referring to the end of life, which, by the way, is hurtling towards you at breakneck speeds. Listen to how David put it in Psalm 39. He said, "Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor," like, the fog that appears in the morning and then vanishes into thin air. Your life, it seems so real right now, doesn't it? You're buying things. You're going. You're driving your F-150 around. You're double-clicking stuff on Instagram. But just before you know it, it's all going to vanish into thin air. You will not be on this earth anymore. Glad you came to church.
Psalm 90 puts it this way, "Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty". Wow, look at that guy. 80-years old, man, that's a long, dang old time. "But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away". Look at this part. "Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom". I can see it now. Some of you, you're 17, you're 24. Not me, I'm in the prime of my life. You're going to blink. You're going to blink, and decades are going to pass. And the longer you live, the faster it goes. Time is not on your side. I like how Aristotle put it. He said, "We should measure time in heart throbs," meaning every time your heart beats, it's a gift. And you're not guaranteed it's going to happen again. Five years, you might not live three. Five years, you might be in the ground in six months.
Our life, Peter said, quoting the prophet Isaiah, look at it, is like the flower of the grass. All our beauty, all the buildings we build and bridges, oh, look it, we cross that chasm. And we put our name in lights. And look at this film. And look at this company. And look, every accomplishment, we're talking Caesar, we're talking Napoleon Bonaparte, we're talking the founders of the United States when they signed the Declaration of Independence, all great, but look, look at it again, it's all just the flower of the grass. The grass withers, the flower falls away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever. So time is not on your side. Your life is just grass. Your life is just a flower. But through listening to God's Word, we can tap into something that's forever, something that's eternal.
There's a second thing. Jot this down. Speaking of this idea of you in five years, I want you to know this. Future you is simply an exaggerated version of current you. You know, we think about the future, sometimes, rather romantically. It's this mysterious thing, like, who am I going to be when I grow up? You're going to be exactly like you, just exaggerated. You're going to be exactly, if you want to know what you're going to look like in 5 years and in 10 years after that and 20 years after that, just look at yourself with more miles on the odometer. What do I mean? I mean, if you're kind today, you'll be kinder then, because these things deepen. These things mature. If you're generous today, you'll be more generous. Picture a more generous person that looks somewhat like you, who just got a little bit more leathery complexion. A kinder, more generous person. If you are, today, cruel, you will be crueler still. You will be harsher still. Those things will just deepen down as it gets down into the cracks of who you are, and it hardens and forms into your character. If you are disciplined today, you will be more disciplined still.
What I'm trying to get you to see is that, and, by the way, this makes the selection of a spouse so important, most people are looking for the wrong things. They're looking at the flower, being fooled by the grass, and not understanding that the things that, like a fine wine, get better with time are the invisible attributes etched on the inside of the soul. But this isn't a sermon on swiping right. This is a sermon on who we're going to be five years from now. You see, time doesn't change who you are. It reveals who you are and makes you more of who you are. Time isn't going to change you. Oh, I'm going to be different in the future. No, you're going be exactly like you are making choices today, just more set in those ways. I'm going to need a Scripture verse for that. I got three. Book of Proverbs puts it this way, speaking about seeking good.
If you earnestly seek good, and that's what you're doing, looking for good in people, looking for the good in situations, looking for the good in life, living with a faith-filled optimism, well, guess what? As you get older, you're going to find favor. But if you're seeking trouble and seeking evil, if you're the first to find the problem in any situation, the first to see the faults in everybody, and how would we know that's true of you? Oh, we would just read anything you write. The comments, the statements, the e-mails, the text messages, the quips, the retorts, the little things, you're shooting them out, the things you snicker at, if you're looking for evil, you're going to find trouble. Earlier in the Book of Proverbs, it talks about rolling a stone. Look at this. I love this verse. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will find it rolling back upon him.
If there's a critical nature to you, if you have a wounded spirit, if you're rushing around to cast judgment on the people around you, well, Jesus put it best. That kind of critical spirit, it will boomerang back on you. You are what you eat. You become like what you watch. And you reap what you sow. So future you? It's not so mysterious. It's current you, exaggerated. That means, though, good news, if you don't like what you're getting, you can change what you're doing. If you don't like what you're getting, meaning, what about five years ago? Five years ago, as you look forward, who do you want to be? And I'm not talking about hard things that have happened to you. Look, trust me. I'm 35.
When I think back to January, five years ago, 2013, hardest days of my entire life. Jennie and I, our family are walking through tragedy unexpectedly in the aftermath of one of our children going to Heaven, without notice, the last five years, I'm not talking about the hard things that have happened to you, OK? But when you go back five years, and you look forward to who you wanted to be by now, what kind of a person you hoped to be, what kind of character you hoped to have, what kind of choices you were going to make, if you're disappointed now, you will be more disappointed then. If you look back on your younger self, and you're thinking, where's the guy, where's the girl, that that person hoped they were going to turn into? Well, the future's not going to change. You'll just be more exaggerated.
So if you don't like what you've been getting, you need to change what you're doing. You need to make some different decisions. You need to make some different choices. You need to value some different things. You need to watch out what ways you're letting in before they continue to set in. That's incredibly important. My friend Pastor Greg Laurie likes to put it this way. "The evening of life is determined by the morning of it". That lines up so well with what Paul's saying in Romans 13 about the night being about to end, the dawn being about to come. We're still living in the morning of life, and we can make decisions before the evening comes. And if we're living in the evening of life, we can make decisions before that dawn breaks out. It's never too late to do the right thing. It's never too late to not harden your heart but to yield and to repent and to stop living for the flower and the grass but to start living for the Word of God.
All right, so I got one last thing, and then we're going to just park this introduction here and leave it TBD or to be continued, to be determined, could be fine, too. Haven't written that message yet fully. So but it's gonna be some good stuff, so I hope you come back. But let me leave you with this thought. Ongoing consistency is much more important than short-term intensity. How do I want you to respond to this message? I want you to respond with a measured determination. Why am I not asking you and pushing you to start coming up with a list of ways you're going to change? Because that is so premature. Right now, I just wanted to begin to talk so that we could understand this is going to be a lot to bite off. And whatever we bite off we're going to need to chew and swallow. An ongoing consistency, every time, trumps short-term, flared up intensity. You can think Bruce Lee for that.
Why is that the case? Here's why. Because ongoing, steady, slow, measured consistency allows you to tap into what has been called the most powerful force in the universe, and that is compound interest. Think about what Albert Einstein said on the subject. He said that compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it earns it. He who doesn't pays it. See also credit card debt. Whether you're earning 20% or you'll be paying 20% comes down to whether you understand the most powerful force in the universe and the power of steady consistency to build up and become strong over time. One of the best ways I've ever heard to get your head around what compound interest looks like is if you can imagine a series of dominoes that increased in size. And I wish I could show you what that looks like. Oh, wait. There they are. OK, yeah, so if you took a domino, but that one's too big.
If you started out with a tiny little domino, one that is only 5 millimeters tall and only one millimeter thick, and then you took 12 more dominoes so that your 13 dominoes were to grow 1 and 1/2 times consistently every single revolution, every domino 1 and 1/2 times taller, by the 13th domino, you would increase in size all the way to the point where your last one is a meter tall and weighs 100 pounds. That is compound interest. That is exponential growth. The problem for so many of us is, ain't nobody got time for that. We've made it to march so many times. And we're just discouraged. Why? Because we want to be over here. We want to go, here we go, from here to there. I just want to change. I don't get it. I just tried that. I read the Bible one time. I wasn't a man of God overnight. You should see yourself. It's so frustrating.
Isn't there a pill I can take? Isn't there some hot water I can pour on it? Isn't there something I can buy on Amazon? Why can't I just be a great husband? Is there a marriage conference I could go to? Nah, you just gotta do the dishes and quit being a jerk. I know, but I tried that once, and it didn't work out. And I just don't understand. And I tried saving. It wasn't for me. You don't understand my boss. Oh, he didn't tell you how special you were like your mom did, and give you a reward for doing nothing? Oh, I'm sorry. OK, so here's the thing. You can't jump from here to here without going through here. And this is the next five years of your life if you want to get to this.
Now, this thing is so small, I got to use tweezers to even get it into place. But if we start small and realize the power of ongoing consistency, here is what can happen for you. I rest my case. Now, check it out. C. S. Lewis said that good and evil both increase at compound interest. Both lists mushroom out of control. And that is why the smallest decisions we make in every way are of infinite importance. Oh, by the way, this is number 13. It's 3 feet tall and 100 pounds. We don't have room, but if we were to continue with to 29 dominoes, the 29th domino would be as tall as the Empire State Building. Just so you have a picture in your mind of what keeps happening.
There was a study done in Australia about the effects of sunscreen on aging. They took 900 people. The average age was 39. And they split them up into groups. One group was told, wear a high-powered sunscreen, wait for it, whenever it's sunny. If you're going to the beach, if you're going to be out in the sun, man, throw some sunscreen on it. I imagine that's probably our strategy for a lot of us. Like, SPF 50. It's sunny. I need that on. The other group of people were told, I want you to wear SPF 15, what's that even going to do? 15, are you kidding me? But I want you to wear it every day. In Alaska? Wear it. Not going outside all day? Wear it. You're going to be in a dark environment for a whole week? Wear sunscreen SPF 15 every morning as a part of your routine. 4 and 1/2 years went by. That's convenient, almost 5. And they studied the before and after pictures of both groups.
And the group that was told to put the higher SPF on only when it was sunny, when comparing the pictures, they themselves, everyone who looked at it, the scientists who did the study, could not deny there was aging that had happened in a short period of 5 years. There was aging. Man, that blemish wasn't there. That wasn't there. This person looks older. It's only been 5 years, but, dang, look how much older they are. Would you believe that the group that put only SPF 15 on every single day had no visible signs of aging? And in 5 years, their pictures looked virtually identical. Turns out, slow ongoing consistency, steady, beats flared up, oh, it's sunny, got to quickly get the sunscreen out, intensity. Listen to me. What's true of your skin is also true of your soul.
So circle back to where we started with. What is the face you get stuck with? What is the life you get stuck with? Well, it's, like, your mom told you when you were young, and you were making faces at each other. Don't keep making that face, or it'll stick that way. Don't keep making that face, or it'll look stuck that way. There's actually science behind that. You can grow smile lines or wrinkle lines depending on what your constant normal is. The life you get stuck with is the life you make. So make it a good one.