Each of us are headed down a path with the decisions we make today. The question we must ask ourselves is “Where is this path going to take me?” In this message, we look at Galatians 6 to learn how to “sow good seeds” so we can reap the benefits in the decade to come.
All right, let's go! The year 2020 is here! We could not be more excited to welcome everybody who is here tonight. Also, let me do something as we start off 2020 that we've never done before. Let me welcome every Porch.Live location, whether you're in Porch North up in Frisco and Plano; in Fort Worth; in Fayetteville; outside of Philly in Southampton; Cincinnati Porch; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Missouri City; Sweetwater, Texas; Houston, Texas; Phoenix Porch.Live; Mint Hill, North Carolina; Porch Nashville; Porch The Woodlands; Porch El Paso; Porch Tulsa; Porch Austin; and Porch Boise, Idaho, for the very first night.
In case you were wondering, we love getting to welcome all of you guys. We can't always do that because there are a lot of them. All that to say, welcome, friends. Tonight we are starting this series Roaring 20s. We are back in the 20s, which is pretty crazy, because it has been a minute since we were here, but we're back again. It's crazy to think of how our world has changed since we were in the 1920s.
I don't know what you know about the 20s or how much history you're familiar with, but the 20s were a time where, iconically, images like this were really famous of what were known as the flappers. Apparently, this was really scandalous because girls (it's crazy how much the world has changed) wore dresses that came up to their knees, and boys were not supposed to mess with girls… Mama told you not to mess with girls who had dresses that went to their knees.
In addition to that, there was something taking place called prohibition. We actually outlawed alcohol for a decade, which just led to bootlegging and the underground crime unit. Additionally, Babe Ruth was on the scene, if you remember him. Iconically remembered because of The Sandlot. The Great Bambino was around.
Women's right to vote happened. There we go. Better late than never. It's crazy that the country sustained… Everyone knows women are smarter than men, generally speaking, and that you made it that many years without women speaking in directly is a thing in and of itself. In addition to that, Amelia Earhart. Yas queen. The very first aviation lady to pioneer that.
Henry Ford transformed the world with the Ford Model T, and 24 million cars burst onto the scene. It was roaring because so many technological advancements were happening. Electricity quadrupled. People were getting access to running water. They had a car. The game was changing, and it was roaring.
In addition to that…little known fact…there was also something called sliced bread that got invented in the 1920s. The expression, "It's the greatest thing since sliced bread…" Now you know, "Oh, they mean since the 1920s." The Roaring 20s had all types of things that marked that generation, and as we look toward the 2020s, you can't help but wonder what history is going to record about the 2020s that are going to be in front of us when people look back in a decade.
The truth is none of us know. We can't know, won't know. We'll get to hopefully live through it unless Jesus comes back. What you can know is what your 2020s are going to hold…not entirely but largely, because you're going to play a role, and I play a role in shaping my 2020s, the years 2020 to 2030. If you're alive, you will play a direct role not in controlling everything your 20s are going to hold, but more than anyone else, more than anyone alive, you are going to shape what your 20s are going to hold.
This is a decade that will define your life. We subtitled the series The Decade of Decisions, because as sobering and crazy and like, "Oh my gosh!" as that feels, this more than any other decade will likely determine who you're going to be, the direction of your life, the story you will have. Think about that. Why do I say that? Even secular psychologists say that 80 percent of the major decisions we make in life are made by the age 35. Between the ages of 20 to 35, we make decisions…
By the age of 35, 75 percent of you will be married. That's not a guarantee, and I hate to say it, this section right here is the 25 percent that won't be married. Everybody else… That's not at all true, but point being, 75 percent… Think about that. That means the vast majority, other than 25 percent, and then more than 80 percent will be married by 40. This decade is also the time where we establish careers or the direction of your career life. They even say the majority of your lifetime wage earnings will be established in your 20s and early 30s.
You develop your personality, and it changes more than any other time in your 20s. There's not a single decade that is more significant to the direction and story of your life than the one you're living in right now. Think about that. The good news is the God who's there loves you, is crazy about you. He hasn't left you or me to navigate it on our own, and he wants you to have 20s that roar in every way you could imagine or every way, in your heart of hearts, you want them to.
He wants more for you than you even want for yourself, and he has given us instructions in his Word to lead you to life in these 20s. He has invited you. "Don't run your own offense in this decade. Don't leave it in your own hands. Don't leave it in the hands of culture, the world around you. I'm a loving Father who wants to lead you in the direction of the life you couldn't hardly even dream of and the story you're going to tell someday."
Tonight, we're going to kick off what will be the first of six or seven weeks in this series where we want to cover… Here's our goal and hope for the series. In the next handful of weeks, we want to cover the biggest issues that you have to have a death grip on. You have to get these issues right if you're going to have 20s that roar in every way you want them to and God wants them to.
We're going to go through dating. We're going to go through finances. We're going to go through career. We're going to go through everything that we thought, as we prayed through, these are some of the biggest issues you have to get right in this season of life that are at the heart of the young adult experience and so many decisions you and I will be making over the next 10 to 15 years.
Tonight, I want to start us off and frame up the series and explore decision-making in your 20s. You may not realize this. The Bible has a lot to say about wise decision-making. The entire book of Proverbs is all about decision-making. The apostle Paul teaches on and Jesus teaches on how to make sure you are not a fool who wastes away, who brings pain and messes up your life.
You only get one 20s. You only get one life, and the God who's there loves you enough to give you clear instruction on how to best use it. So, we're going to kick off by looking at decision-making in our 20s. What does it look like to make decisions in line with God's Word and in line with producing a 2020 to 2030 that roars in every way we want it to?
If you have a Bible, you can flip open to Galatians, chapter 6, and we will kick off and read a few verses, and I'll break it up as we go through there. Galatians is a book written by the apostle formerly known as Saul, who became Paul, who spent half his life trying to stomp out Christianity. He meets Jesus and then devotes the rest of his life to spreading the message of Christ and the gospel all around the world.
He writes about one-third of the New Testament, and this is one of the letters he wrote to the church in Galatia. He spends several different chapters talking about the gospel and how it lives out the good news of Jesus dying on the cross in your place, how you can have new life, and then he transitions and gives some sobering reminders that despite the fact that God has already made the way…
No matter what you do, if you have trusted in Christ, you have eternal life forever. If in a moment, by faith, you trust that Jesus on the cross paid for everything you've ever done, and you trust in his death, his burial, and his resurrection, that he defeated death and paid for your sin, you're a believer, but that doesn't mean that now any way you live in this life is going to be void of consequences.
So he says this, starting in chapter 6, verse 7: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." He uses an agricultural expression. He basically says, "God has put into the universe or into our world certain laws or certain principles that if you break those principles, if you live in the opposite direction of what God's law teaches, you are going to experience consequences for it."
He introduces a principle that you're going to reap what you sow. You sow apple seeds, you're going to reap an apple tree. You sow orange seeds, you're not going to reap a banana tree. Whatever you put in, you're going to end up eventually… Whatever you plant in the ground, whatever seeds are sown into your life are going to produce fruit. Those are going to be a part of your life, so be careful what you sow, because God is not mocked.
The first idea I want to highlight is the principle of decision-making. There's a principle that the decisions you make… Every time you're making a decision…daily, small, big…you are sowing seeds into your life that eventually are going to show back up that you're going to harvest. You're going to produce fruit either positively or negatively, and it's a principle.
What do I mean and why is that important? A principle, it has been said, is not something you choose to apply. Like, "Hey, you reap, and if you choose, you can sow." No. A principle applies itself to you. The principle and law of gravity is not something you choose to apply. Like, if I decide, "I'm not going to apply gravity," and I step off of this, it's going to apply itself to me. So it's not a question of whether or not this is something you should do; it is something that will happen to you.
The decisions you make today in your dating relationships, financial relationships, in your career, in your character, in the people you're around… All of those decisions are eventually going to show themselves back up inside of your life. So the question is…What are you planting? What are the things you are putting in your life; the decisions, whether you're consciously making them or not, that are going to direct the course of your life?
You are building a life. The question is whether or not you are intentional about the things you're building it around. What do I mean? I'll use an illustration. Over the break, we went to a place called Build-A-Bear. Anybody ever heard of Build-A-Bear? It was my 4-year-old son's birthday month. We were told that if you go into Build-A-Bear, for whatever age you are, that's the price you pay during your birthday month. He was turning 4. We were like, "Oh, we're going to get a $4 bear. We're winning. This is awesome."
We go to the store. It was my first experience with Build-A-Bear, so I didn't know exactly what I was going into, but it was like, "Dude, $4. This is such a win." Then we got into Build-A-Bear, and what they don't tell you is that, yeah, they'll give you this empty, blank bear, but anything else you want to build into the bear is an additional price, and it is not a cheap price. So, they're over there charging $18 for some shoes that a bear wears and some underwear and pants and a shirt.
I'm trying to get out of there, like, "No, we'll just do the 4." People look at you like, "What? Do you not love your children? Is that what this is?" And you're like, "All right. Just give him the pants. Give him the pants already. We'll pay for the pants." He begins to go through, and we let him build whatever he wants. He gets the Spider-Man stuff in there, and he begins to add on, and each thing he added came with a cost.
As his dad, I know the things he's adding… I'm like, "I don't know that you're going to want that." He was like, "I want it to smell like strawberries." I'm like, "That is a really strong strawberry smell. Are you sure? You're going to be smelling that forever." Then it came to the music. They'll put a thing that makes music inside of it for an additional $12. He was like, "Yeah." They let him go through and pick the songs, and he picks "Twelve Days of Christmas."
I was like, "Man, I love that. I don't know if you're going to want 'Twelve Days of Christmas' for the rest of the rest, like in June…" We're still playing "Twelve Days of Christmas" in my house right now. I knew, "You like it now. It's costing us $12. I don't think you're going to like it in six months, and it's a $50 bear." But he just went through, and everything he added had a cost with it. As his dad, some I look on and go, "Man, I don't know that you're going to like that," and other things, you know, "I think you're probably still going to like that Spider-Man shirt in six months."
What does that have to do with you? You are building a life. This decade, you are deciding and you are creating and you are becoming the spouse you're going to be. Today and the decisions you made play a role in shaping the type of husband, the type of father, the type of career path, the person you are becoming. You are building it. Every decision you make comes with a cost. It's not a question of whether it's like, "Hey, is it free or is it not?" No. Every decision you make comes at a cost.
What do I mean? Like, the decision that "Hey, I'm going to give my 20s to just living for the weekend and partying every Thursday through Saturday night, and then I'll be there at church. I'm going to live toward that and give it away and basically numb my 20s away, because I'm so depressed with the rest of my workweek and life." It's going to come at a cost of experiencing your purpose in this decade.
You're going to stay in a dating relationship, and it's going to come at a cost. That's something you're building into your life. You're saying, "I'm going to put that on my bear." It's a dysfunctional dating relationship. Some of you are in them right now. You're staying in that, and you're continuing to stay with Mr. Wrong or Mrs. Wrong, and it is going to prevent you from getting healthy, because there's something unhealthy about you that you even keep going back to them.
So, you're not going to get healthy, and you're not going to end up finding someone who's the type of person God describes. While staying with them is something you want in your life, it's coming at a cost to you. The flip side is true. If you want to follow God's Word, if you want to do what he said… Like, some of you have made the decision, "This year I want to change my playmates and my playgrounds, or I've been trying to do that, because I just have negative influences around me and people who keep calling me and I keep getting pulled down by them."
It's going to come at a cost if you want to build into your life, "I want the right people in my life. I want God's people in my life." It's going to cost you. What do I mean? It's going to cost. There are going to be Friday nights where you say, "No, I'm not going to the bar again." Some of you are going to say, "Hey, I want to get healthy. I keep having one messed-up relationship after the next. I'm beginning to think the common denominator is me. I need to get healthy. I think I just need to break up."
It's going to come at the cost of breaking up. Let's be honest. That sucks, but it's a decision you'll look back on and go, "Man, I'm so glad, despite the cost and the pain and as hard as it was, that I decided to do what God instructed me to do." The flip side is also true. It may not cost you as much to continue to not follow what God says in the moment, but when you finish the end of your decade and all you have to show for it is a bunch of stories that you hardly remember because you were intoxicated, it comes at an even greater cost in the long run.
The point is you're going to reap what you sow. Every decision we're making is a part of sowing seeds, and Paul says, "Are you making sure you are planting the right seeds in your life?" It's going to cost either way. Make sure that in the long run you don't end up with a bear playing "Twelve Days of Christmas" all year round or with a life that you end up at 30 or 35 going, "How did I even get here?"
There's another verse that is so relevant to this that I'll read. The author of Proverbs highlights… Do you know what the definition of a fool is biblically? Over and over, the fool used in Proverbs is somebody who knows it's wrong and says, "I'm just going to keep doing that anyway." Candidly (this is going to sting a little bit, because some of you have said this before), a fool is someone who thinks they're an exception to the rule.
If you're like, "Yeah, I know that's pretty much the bad thing for everybody out there and I really shouldn't be with someone like this" or "I really should stop smoking because it kills you, but my grandma lived to be 98," that, from the biblical perspective, who says, "I see danger coming; I don't care. I'm not going to live in light of that," biblically speaking, is a fool. "I don't see this relationship actually ever going anywhere that's healthy, but I just don't think I can leave." You're a fool, and as lovingly as I can say it, that's just biblically the definition.
Proverbs 22:3 says, "The wise see danger and take refuge, but the simple (or the foolish) keep going and suffer for it." A wise person sees danger coming, sees where this is going, and he begins to stop and make a change. Some of you tonight, the God of the universe who loves you so much he has you here on a Tuesday night studying his Word, who cares more and is more deeply invested and concerned with you thriving in your 20s, having an amazing marriage… He cares way more about that than you do, for you than you do. He has you here.
You may be in a place where you're going, "I feel like I've been on the wrong track. I lost the track. I'm way off. I've been running, I've been making decisions, and I found myself in a substance addiction or in a really unhealthy relationship. I don't even know where to go. I feel like I'm just lost and I'm totally off the course I want to be at. I don't even recognize myself anymore. Things I never thought I would do I'm doing."
If you're in that place, you need to know your story is not done and God has created and wants you to take a path back toward getting on the right track. You're not too far gone for him to take your story and make good out of it, but here's what you also need to know: there is no overnight fix. In other words, in that moment where we're like, "Hey, I'm lost right now; I just don't know where to go. Everything is falling apart, and I can't believe it, and she's pregnant" or "I can't believe the STD happened…"
Whatever the situation is, whatever your story is… Maybe it's just, "I can't believe I've wandered so far from him." There is no overnight and "I'm back," but just like when you get lost in the car… I was in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago for an event, and I was driving my own car, and I just don't know Cleveland. I thought I was headed the right way, and then I realized, "I'm lost right now." How do I get back on track when I'm lost? I retrace, I go back to where I was, and I get on. There's no moment where I just blink and I'm back on track.
That's the same way with the Christian life. If you've been running, you need to know you're not too far gone, but the path is not just some overnight thing. You make decision after decision after decision. The way you beat a pornography addiction is not by just, "Man, and then one moment, he just prayed over me, and it was done."
That's generally not the story. Generally, the story is, "I've been sober one day. I was sober two days. I was sober three days. I've been sober four days. I've been sober five days. I have God's people around me, and day by day, I am pursuing sowing seeds of purity."
A dating relationship, whatever you have. If you start dating, you're like, "Dude, this one, I'm for sure… I have a past. I've slept around a little bit, but this one, no way we're ever going to do that." You need to know the way that happens is by day after day pursuing purity. It won't happen because you're like, "You know what? We're in this to win it, but I just find you so unattractive I have no temptation here."
That's not how it works. You know that, right? Generally, that's a problem. It happens one day after the next. "I'm committed to pursuing purity. You're committed to pursuing purity. We're going to do this. We're going to fight, and we're going to go, because we're sowing seeds of where this relationship is going and where our lives are going." The God who's there says, "Are you planting the right seeds in the ground?"
He then gives us two directions or fields, so to speak, that he lays out that each of us is going to sow. He says in verse 8, "Whoever sows…" Which is, again, just a word for planting seeds. "…to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction…" This is one of my least favorite biblical words: flesh. It's just a weird term that we don't really use. Nobody is like, "She's just a fleshy girl." It would confuse people.
Biblically (and other translations have this), the word flesh is just a word for sinful nature. What's the sin nature? Whoever sows, or plants, according to what their sinful nature thinks they should do is going to reap destruction, it says. Sin nature is the thing inside of you that makes sin come naturally. It's a thing that says, "I want to do what I want when I want with who I want whenever I want."
That's the sin nature. He says if you live by that, if you let that govern your life, it's going to lead into destruction, self-destructive stuff. " [But] whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." If you sow spiritual things, which are things according to God's Word, the things you plant in your life, you are going to reap life.
The second thing, in addition to the principle of our decision-making, which is that you're going to reap what you sow, is the path of your decision-making. Every decision is putting you on a path in one direction or another. Paul says if you sow according to the sinful nature, you are going to grow eventually, not in a moment, things that are destructive…addictions, idiosyncrasies, toxic thinking where you just can't get out of it.
Anytime you begin to sow those things, it's going to lead to fruit from those things. The same thing… It's also positive. If you sow according to the Spirit, there's going to be a fruit that comes at a later time. He says you can predict, based on the decisions you're making in this season… It's so hard to believe, because it's like, "One day. Is it really that big of a deal?" Paul says, "It's not just one day."
When you take those days and you take the decisions and put them together, you can predict who you're going to be and where you're going, what your life is going to look like eventually. It's interesting, because we, as a culture, love to kind of connect the dots on where we're going or where we've been and who we are and what we hope to look like or hope to be like someday and have this mixed relationship where we don't mind looking back and we love looking forward.
Do you remember the 10-year challenge? Anybody participate in this? The 10-year challenge was this moment where people were like, "Hey, this is what I was 10 years ago." There's 10 years ago. This guy was sunburned, leaving Hollister shop or something. He has come a long way. We've all looked back on "This is where we've been."
Then there was another way where we did it in the future, where everyone had this app. Basically, we allowed Russia to hack all of our stuff, and we were like, "Make me look old here. I want to see the future, if I age like fine wine or what I'm going to look like," and we put it up there. I looked at this and was like, "I have to start using lotion or face cream or something," because I look like the guy off Cast Away looking for Wilson or Santa Claus. This is not the future I want someday.
In that moment you can look, and you're like, "Oh, man. If this is true… Is this really the future in front of me?" Paul would say, not in a picture way or externally what you're going to look like, but he would say, "If I were to spend time with you and be around you and look at the direction of your life, I could tell you where you're going to be in a year, in two years, in 10 years." By the time the 20s end, I can tell you who you are becoming and where this is headed inside of your life by the decisions you make today.
They're a path. They're not a moment. Each one of them is a part of a path that is taking you somewhere. Are you headed in the right direction? Let me be a little bit more explicit. Are you headed in the right direction as it relates to your dating relationships? Let's just be real. There are some of us in the room who are like, "You know what? I'm just dating casually right now. It's not that big of a deal. They're not the perfect person, but I don't have to find the perfect person. I'm just in my 20s."
You're kind of going through this casual dating phase, and you're a little dysfunctional, but in the back of your mind you're like, "I'd like to party now a little bit, but I'm going to end up married when the right time comes, probably like 30, maybe 31. I'm going to find the right guy who loves Jesus, and we're going to settle down. He's going to look like Ryan Gosling. He's going to make me breakfast, come in the morning and be like, 'Hey, babe, how was your quiet time?'" You think that's coming. Let me just be real. That's not coming. It's not.
What's more likely to happen is that you're going to continue to date dysfunctionally and date and date and find maybe your worth or identity in having a girlfriend or having a boyfriend or that relationship, and then 32 is going to come around, and you're not going to have some guy who loves Jesus, because you don't love Jesus.
Guys who love Jesus are interested in girls who love Jesus, and girls who love Jesus are interested in guys who love Jesus. You don't love Jesus and you haven't been loving Jesus, so you're going to end up probably making a poor decision by marrying "Mediocre Matt" (no offense, Matt) who doesn't even love Christ.
He's going to propose to you in a very unromantic way, won't even have a ring, hasn't talked to your dad, but he's like, "Hey, let's do this," and you'll be like, "Well, I guess he's the only option I have. He's Mediocre Matt, but that's cool. I don't want to spend my life single," and you're going to marry him. That's a tragedy. I'm saying all that in a lighthearted, playful way, but it's all too real, and I've seen it too many times.
You assume, "Someday I'll get serious about God." That day is not coming. Or "Someday I'll really get somebody who is the type of husband or type of father or type of mother I want." That day is not coming unless you become the type of person that type of person is going to look for. Others of you are going to get this right. Others of you, for sure, in the next 10 years, are not going to end up with that story; you're going to end up with the story that you go all in with Jesus. You start serving at a church.
You're going to meet a godly guy, and he's going to see in you a godly girl or you're going to meet a godly girl and she's going to see in you a godly guy, and you guys are going to go on a date. You're going to get to spend time together. You're going to end up pursuing purity together. You're going to get married. You'll probably have a kid by the end of 2030. It's true. That story is in this room. It's beautiful.
Tragically, the other story is that some of you guys are going to get married and divorced by 2030, but you don't have to. The decision to do so is in your hands right now. As I prepared this message, my heart could not be more broken and pleading with you. These are the days and years to decide who you're going to be, because who you're going to be will define who you're going to marry, where you're going to work, and the person and the future and story you will tell for the rest of your life. Are you writing the story you want to look back on?
Others of you, as it relates to the path you're headed on, as it relates to your financial scenario, you're in debt, and you're like, "It doesn't really matter. I'll deal with it someday." You're just adding onto it. You're like, "Yeah, car payment. That's a good idea. I already have 50K. What's another 10K in debt?" You're adding onto it, adding onto it, thinking, "Someday I'll get married, and they'll love me so much they'll be like, 'You know what? I've got this. Here's 50 grand. Just take it,' and it'll go away."
That's not going to happen, generally, or it's at least not a great plan to happen. Others of you are going to take finances, and you're going to be like, "Dude, the Bible says, 'The borrower is slave to the lender.' It's in Proverbs. I'm going to make the decision where I want to do everything I can to honor God with my finances. I'm going to get out of debt."
Here's the other thing you're going to do because you're going to live according to what the Bible says. You're going to have something that no amount of money, no house, no amount in your bank account will ever give you: contentment, because you're going to make the decision, "I'm going to live how God says I should as it relates to money."
Others of you, in your career, you're going to sow, and it's not going to be in the direction of faithfulness in your job. I'm just telling you, here's what the next 10 years are going to look like. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. You're going to jump from one job to the next to the next, because you're going to find yourself… I'm just trying to be real here.
You're going to get in a job, and you're going to be there for a year and a half, and you'll be like, "I just feel like I'm not passionate about this. No one here appreciates me. I feel like, honestly, I'm underpaid. Let's be honest. How much does Becky make? Becky doesn't feel like she's doing that much." And you're going to jump out of that job thinking everybody else is the problem.
You're going to get in a job for a year and a half, and you're going to find yourself thinking the exact same things, never dealing with the entitlement and the narcissism that's there, and you're going to jump again, going, "You know what? I have to find something I'm passionate about," not realizing every job on the planet has days and parts of it where you're just not passionate about that. You know what? You're going to forfeit getting good at your job.
So you're going to be 30 and jumping again, being like, "I think I'm going to explore a new career." There are times that everybody transitions, so I'm not saying this is all the way wrong, but if you're the person who jumps and jumps and jumps, you should be concerned. You will forfeit actually getting good at your job, because it just takes time. You know that, right? It takes time to be good at anything.
You're also going to forfeit deep relationships where you work, having a ministry presence where you work because of deep relationships that are there. Others of you are going to make the decision that "I'm going to have long faithfulness here at this job until it is so clear God has called me somewhere else, and then I'm going to go do something else."
There are times where he does that, but you're going to make the decision, "I'm going to go in. I'm going to be faithful. I'm going to work hard. I'm going to show up early. I'm going to leave late. I'm going to honor my boss. I'm going to set low expectations for everyone else, and I'm going to seek to serve them and honor the people I'm working with." You're going to experience life and thriving there.
Tonight, you're like, "Dude, you're being too mean. I'm never coming back here." That's okay. I hope that's not the case, but you're going to leave here and, regardless, whatever the reason is, you're not going to step back into church for a while or you're just going to church-hop, like, every now and then pop in, good vibes, got to get a little fill and then go back on my way, and your faith is going to continue to wither and suffocate.
You can't eat once a week, just like you shouldn't be spiritually fed once a week. That's what you're going to do, and your 20s are going to be wasted away, and you're spiritually not going to grow with God. You know what? You're going to call a friend who's here in three years and say, "I just feel really distant from God." There's no mystery there. You've continued to walk and walk and walk distantly from God. He still loves you, is crazy about you, and welcomes you like a Father anytime you return.
Others of you are going to say, "I'm going to take this decade, and I'm going to make decisions that are going to lead toward the path of the person I want to become in small daily decisions, and I'm going to invest in and grow my relationship with God." It's crazy how small things, daily, can be so transformative over time.
Do you know if you read or listen to the Bible 10 minutes a day…? So, whatever your commute is, if you take 10 minutes of that and read or listen to the Bible, in a year you will have finished reading an entire Bible. Ten minutes a day. If you decided, "You know what? I want to memorize some verses this year…"
If you said, "I'm going to memorize a verse a day," by the end of the year, you could have memorized Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians combined. Just little deposits of faithfulness. Some of you are doing it, and you're going to do it, and you're going to reap an incredible harvest, Paul says, of hiding God's Word inside of your heart. This idea of staying on the right path, continuing toward the right direction, small decisions, moment by moment, determining the direction and destination of my life, never goes away.
This past week, I was gathering with my Community Group, and I was sharing with those guys, "I just need you to pray for me and hold me accountable. I've been having lustful thoughts about women who are not my wife, and I don't want those thoughts to lead me toward habits, to actions, to anything that takes me away from being the man I want."
You may be here for the first time, and you're like, "Did a pastor just say he has lustful thoughts about a woman who's not his wife?" Yes, because I'm a human, and I hate it. I need guys in my life who can pray for me, hold me accountable, ask me about it, so I invite them in. Here's what I know: I can either suffer in silence and continue to feed that temptation on my own, and it's going to take me to a path…
I don't want to be the 40-year-old man who's still constantly feeding his mind with sexual thoughts of people other than his wife. I want the last time I've ever had a thought like that to be behind me. Maybe that's not possible, because sin nature is a real thing, but I want, as much as I can, to make sure I'm not allowing that thought. I want to get it out in the open, and I need you to pray for me. I need you to know about it. This is not who I want to be, because I want to plant the right seeds. Are you planting the right seeds?
Finally, Paul says, "Let us not become weary in doing good…" He switches and really backs up and gives a nod or implication of the eternal harvest that comes. He says, " [Don't grow] weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." He switches and begins to talk about, "It's going to be worth it. Continue to sow the right seeds, to make the right decisions, and I promise you it's going to be worth it." He begins to talk about eternity.
He's basically saying, "It's worth it in this life and in the life to come. It's going to be worth it. Hold on to it. Continue to make the decisions in those moments where it is so difficult." And it's difficult. Let's just be honest. He says, "It's going to be worth it. Continue to sow the right seeds." Wherever you're at today, wherever you've been, you can begin today to sow the right seeds in your life, and Paul says it is going to be worth it.
The third point from this text is the promise that doing good pays off. I heard from another pastor this week a story that was related to a study that was done of a group of 1,000 individuals. They divided the group in two. They said, "Hey, you guys are going to put sunscreen on your face every single day. If it's sunny outside or if it's not sunny outside, put sunscreen on your face every single day." The other group was told, "Just put sunscreen on whenever you want or if you're going out into the sun."
So, group: every single day, even when it's raining outside, put it on your face. Group: just put it on when it's sunny or whenever you want. Over a 10-year period they studied both of these groups, and at the end of the time they discovered a significant reduction not in cancer or in sunburn or any of the things you would think, "Of course." They discovered a significant reduction in the aging of their faces. A significant change, above 25 percent.
The group that put on sunscreen every single day significantly aged less than the group that did not. They were able, based on these small decisions, to determine what they are going to look like in the future. What does that have to do with us? Nothing, but The Porch is beginning to sell sunscreen, and if you swipe up on our Porch app, you can use the promo code "Porch 2020 David sunscreen"… No, that's not at all it.
The idea that based on these small decisions you can see who you're becoming. You can see what is in your future. Paul says it's worth it, just like that small decision, sunscreen every day. It's worth it. The decisions to study God's Word, to live in community, to do the hard thing when it's the right thing, even if it leads to breaking off a relationship or getting out of a financial situation you can't afford… He says it's worth it.
Living according to his Word is worth it, and in the end, you're going to see it. Living for yourself or any other thing in your 2020s or just your 20s and your 30s is too small of a thing to live for and a foolish thing to give your life for. Not only is it worth it because in eternity, for all the good and the ways you sow spiritual things into your life, you're going to experience a reward and benefit for all of eternity.
Not only is it worth it for all of eternity because of that but because it is too small of a thing to give your life to just yourself, to you making a name for yourself or getting more money or just having the love story you want or getting rich and famous or a million Instagram followers or whatever else you think is worth it out there. Those are too small of things to give your life toward. Why do I say that? Let me say it this way.
I was talking with my team. We were talking about the 1920s, and I asked, "Does anyone know who was president in the 1920s?" It's kind of a funny question because there are three of them. Not a single person knew who was president. I'm guessing most people in this room don't know who was president in the 1920s. Maybe some of us do, but think about that. It was Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Woodrow Wilson at the very beginning.
Think about that. The president of the United States, the highest office in the land, the greatest holding of success you could have in terms of worldly standards, most people would say, the leader of the free world…100 years from now, no one knows who they were. Most of you know nothing about Herbert Hoover. You're like, "Is that the vacuum guy? I thought it was the vacuum guy. He was a president?" No, not the vacuum guy…president.
Calvin Coolidge. Most of us think, "Isn't that a cartoon? I thought that was a cartoon." You have no idea who that is. This is the highest achievement man can make, and in 100 years no one knows who they are. No one is going to know who you are or who I am. You living for yourself, your own kingdom, is too small and foolish of a thing to live for. The God who's there has invited you in your 20s and in your 30s to live for something so much bigger than yourself.
This is the most unique time period of your life, like no other time period you're going to have. You have more time, energy, availability to serve Christ, to do something amazing. What do all of the disciples have in common? They were all young adults. Do you know what every major revival in our nation had in common? It was all led by young adults. Do you know what most of the people, candidly, who you respect when you look back in history books have in common? They were all young adults, 20s and 30s.
How old was Martin Luther King Jr. when he died? Thirty-five. He spent most of the years by which you're like, "Wow!" forming and developing his character, and then for the few years before, having an incredible impact. My point is this is the time where if God is going to use you, and he wants to use you, and he will use you, and he always historically has used young adults… It is your chance to not give your life to the bar scene or living to make a million dollars.
How foolish of a thing is that? Or you can give your life to the thing you were made for, the only relationship that satisfies, to expanding and showing the world around us the one they were made for: their Savior. If God is going to use you, and over and over and over again, it's in this unique time period, candidly, this age, this limited time window, where God grabs the hearts of young adults and uses them to spark something.
I hate that so many of us, despite anything I say, or as much as I would try to plead for that to happen, it's falling on deaf ears. You're going to leave, and you're going to continue to be obsessed with what the world around us thinks and living for yourself. What a waste. My heart and my hope is that some of you are going to get it, and you're going to decide, "I'm going all in with this, with Jesus, with what he invites me to," and you're going to experience life, Paul says, in this one and the one to come.
In conclusion, the principle of decision-making is that you reap what you sow; the path you're on is defined by the decisions we make; and there is a promise, God says, it will pay off. Interestingly, the 1920s are iconic, because it was a time that was so exciting and booming. Everyone was like, "Money, money, money," and it was scandalous, and there was kind of a recklessness. As much as I was kidding about the dress they had, it was like, "Wow! This is so crazy." People were investing money like crazy. The economy quadrupled.
People were taking out loans to put it into the stock market. Think about that. Just money, money, money. People had a mentality that was like, "The music is never going to stop. Let the party continue. Let the champagne roll." Eventually, that reckless mentality led to some reckless decision-making around the stock market and finances. All of a sudden, that perspective that "Hey, the party will never end; it's only up and up…" All of it came crashing down, and what followed was the Great Depression.
So many of the people who lived through that… Like, the party, music won't ever stop. The music stopped, and they had to go through a depression. If you have any grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, there's something most of them have in common, where they're all very sober-minded because of it. You're like, "Grandma, can I just have one scoop of mayonnaise on the sandwich?" She's like, "You can have half a scoop." She's like, "I just don't know what's going to happen," because that crash and depression sobered them.
Some of you, tragically, are listening where you are in 17 locations or you're listening to this podcast, and despite all of the things God clearly says, you are not going to listen. You're going to continue a mentality that "I'm going to live how I want during this phase of life. It's not that big of a deal, dude. I'll be the exception to the rule." I want you to hear me. It's going to come crashing down, and when it does, there's going to be a depression of sorts that follows, and it's going to have implications for your 30s and your 40s.
In the midst of that, do you know what's true? God is going to meet you there. That depression will be something hopefully God uses to grab your heart and bring you back to him and say, "I've never been angry at you. I love you. I've always wanted life for you, and I still offer that, but you're going to have to sow according to my ways." Others of you are not going to allow that reckless "Music will never stop" mentality to shape and define your life. You're going to live according to his Word and sow the things into your life that are going to lead toward the life that in your heart of hearts you want, a life that aligns with God's Word.
I'll close right here. I want you to think about something with me, each of you individually wherever you are. It's 2020. How old are you? You don't have to say it out loud. Just get the number. In 2030, how old are you going to be? I don't know if you're going to be 27 (which would be really young for you to be in here, actually) or 37 or 32 or 38 or 39 or 42, whatever that number is. It's your 42nd birthday. It's your 36th birthday. Your friends all get together. I just want you to go there with me in your mind.
Your friends get together. You're 35, 36, or whatever that number is. Fill in the blank for you. They all get together, and they're like, "Hey, it's Lisa's party" or "It's Caleb's party" or Chris, or whatever. We're getting all together. We have the birthday party. They're going to Bowl & Barrel. They're celebrating you. It's going to be awesome. Or wherever you like to party. You're there. They bring out the cake, and they have the number of candles just for your birthday…35.
Who do you want to be in that moment? Who's going to be in that room? What's the type of person you want to be there? Do you still want to be someone who continues to look at pornography every single day? Do you still want to be someone who's in a dysfunctional dating relationship they never grew out of, perpetually engaged? Do you still want to be someone whose life is marked by, "I'm just so anxious all the time. I'm covered in anxiety. I'm taking medication constantly to cope with the anxiety around me. I have a drinking problem I can't cope with"?
Do you want to be someone who has peace, maybe who's in a healthy relationship or married in that moment? Not perfect. Someone who has found their identity doesn't come from what other people think. "I don't have to worry about pleasing other people. I have the approval of God. What else do I need?" I don't know what you would fill in the blank with and what that future version you would love to see is, but here's what I want to ask: How do you think you're going to get there?
It won't happen overnight. In other words, the decisions you're making… If you have this future version of walking with God and family, that doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen in a moment. It happens moment by moment, and the decisions and the days between now and then will define what and who you will be at that party. Are you becoming the person you want to be for those moments?
Let me close by iterating how. How, God, do I become the husband…? I'm going to be 43. How do I become the dad I want to be at 43? How do I become more patient, more in love with Jesus, more generous with my time and my money? How do I become everything I want to be? Because you know what?
Every single day, God, I wake up and there are things that fight for my heart…anxiety that can fill my mind, distractions that make me think I don't have enough money, I don't have enough appreciation from other people; things that can make me think I'm entitled to more than I am or entitled in general and just can flood my mind with distractions. There are women I want to lust over all the time.
How do I become someone who is the husband, the father, the man, the pastor, the person, the follower of Jesus I want to be? How? It's not by just waking up and saying, "You know what? Today is my day. I'm going to try harder." It's by saying, "God, I don't have the strength." Listen to me very closely, because I don't want you to leave with all of the different things I've said and walk away being like, "Yeah, just self-help."
You and I are not strong enough to become the men we want to be. You are not strong enough to become the woman you want to be. You can't conquer anxiety. You can't conquer lust. You can't conquer all the self-identity and problems. Do you know why I know that? Because if you could, you already would have. You're not strong enough on your own, and neither am I.
So the moment we experience freedom from those is when we go, "God, I need your help. I surrender. I need your help. I don't need it for all the time, though I need it all the time. I need it just for today. Will you help me today, God? Will you help me in this moment where I'm feeling temptation to not be your man, to not be the man I want to be? Will you help me right now, God? I need your help. God, I need your help." Just moment by moment, moment by moment, I surrender my life.
It's the same way you become a Christian. Christians don't try harder, and then they can be in relationship with God. They say, "God, I don't deserve it. I'm not good enough on my own. I need your help. I surrender. You paid for it. If I'm going to have a relationship with you, it's not because of me. I surrender. I need your help." That is how you live the Christian life. That's how your 20s thrive and roar, not by you getting so motivated you walk out of here like, "I'm never sinning again."
Moment by moment, saying, "God, I need you. I surrender. I need your help. I can't be who I want to be without you. Will you help me?" In those moments, God doesn't just move his Spirit in, and that's how he saves somebody. Those are the moments that he directs and sows and moves our lives in the directions that we want them to, that he wants them to, as we say, "God, you drive. You're the Lord. I give you my life. I give you this day. I want to give you this moment. Help me." Let me pray.
Father, I pray for friends in here who feel like they're too far, like they're damaged goods, like they'll never be able to have the story they hoped for, who are not even sure you are a God whose Word and love and life was given for them; that you would meet them where they are right now and the Spirit of God would overwhelm and flood their hearts, as you say it does in Romans 5, and you would give them a vision for their life that's bigger than anything they've ever dreamed.
Father, I pray for men and women in this room who are going to run, and they're not going to listen, and they're not going to use their 20s, and you love them. There are parts of all of our hearts that want to run. Would you help us? Would you win? Would you be greater and stronger in those moments as we surrender to you?
I thank you, God, for the men and women who are sowing seeds of life. Would you multiply those seeds as you do when we sow them, and would you spread a movement of their kind across our country of young adults surrendered and walking surrendered to you day by day? In Christ's name, amen.