WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 5, 2020
TOPIC: FINISH THE GOOD THINGS YOU’VE STARTED
BY T. O. BANSO
“Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it” (2 Corinthians 8:10 New Living Translation).
Don’t start something good and abandon it. Cultivate the discipline of starting and finishing. Individuals, organizations, and nations that lack this discipline will be strangers to progress and development.
Finish the good things you’ve started. Don’t start and quit for no justifiable reasons. Some quit or slow down because of laziness, broken focus, lack of commitment, inability to persevere, unwillingness to delay gratification, etc.
The good thing you’ve started could be a project, a course, a book, or even a good habit. Don’t start and discontinue it; if you do, you won’t derive the maximum benefits. According to a 2009 study by researchers from University College London, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit, a little above two months. The study which examined the habits of 96 people over a period of 12 weeks, reported that it took the people between 18 days and 254 days to form a new habit.
The implication of this is that habits are not formed overnight. If you want to form a new habit, you must never be in haste or give up just because you’re making some mistakes along the line. Continue what you’ve started even if you stumble while trying to form the new habits. Depending on the behavior in question, don’t expect everything to be easy.
What good things have you started? Being interested in it is not enough; you must be committed to finishing it. In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul told us that the Corinthian church started giving and one year after they were yet to complete it. Actually, they were the first church to show eagerness to give before other churches followed their example, but they didn’t continue with the same eagerness. Paul wrote to them, using the generosity of the Macedonian churches to challenge them to finish what they had started.
Paul said, “Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it” (2 Corinthians 8:10 New Living Translation).
He continued in verse 11, “Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by giving. Give in proportion to what you have” (New Living Translation).
Because the Corinthians didn’t finish the giving they started, Paul sent Titus, his son in the ministry, who had encouraged them to give in the first instance, to return to them and encourage them to finish the giving they had started.
What good thing have you started but you’ve abandoned or you’ve been unserious about finishing? Possibly it’s more than a year you started and you should have finished since. Maybe something that you should have completed in two years has taken you four years, five years, or more.
Where is the enthusiasm you had when you started? Just like the Corinthians, where is your eagerness? When are you going to return and complete it – just when? Or have you given up completely with no hope of completing what you started?
Did I hear you say you won’t do that one again, but start another one when it’s still possible to return and finish it? What’s the guarantee that you won’t abandon that one also? As Paul said, my advice is that it would be good to finish the good thing you’ve started. The only exception is if the LORD has asked you not to continue or you’ve discovered that you were wrong to have started.
Ecclesiastes 7:8a says, “Finishing is better than starting” (New Living Translation). We are happy you’ve started a project, but we shall be happier when you complete it. If you have a reputation for starting and hardly finishing, people will receive with cautious excitement your announcement of starting a new project. They will rather wait for you to finish and celebrate with you.
God is a finisher. Genesis 2:1 says, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished” (Genesis 2:1 King James Version). He worked consecutively for six days. Emulate Him. Jesus is called the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He didn’t abandon the work of salvation. He finished it.
Complete the good thing you started if the LORD has not stopped you and if, because of a lapse in time, it’s still wise to complete it. Give whatever it will cost you to finish it – time, money, sleep, prayer, etc. It wasn’t easy for Noah to build the ark. It took him several years (the Bible doesn’t specifically state how long), but he finished it. He faced discouragement, but he completed it. Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I receive the grace to finish every good thing I’ve started. I shall be committed, disciplined, and focused and ensure completion. I overcome the spirit of discouragement in Jesus’ name. I shall not be confused. I refuse to be distracted in Jesus’ name.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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