5 Ways to Finish the Year Strong
by Steve Backlund
Long distance runners plan to have a “kick” at the end of their races. They train and prepare to sprint toward the finish line, knowing how they finish will almost always determine the result of their race. With this analogy in mind, here are five ways to finish this year strong:
Clean up any relational messes – “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Take the initiative to bring healing to relational hurts. When we say, “I am so sorry for how I have contributed to this...”, we give God a great opportunity to defuse any anger or offense in our relationships.
Take inventory of your spiritual life - “But the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12). It was not in the spectacular spiritual events that Elijah was recalibrated, but it was in quieting his spirit to hear the “still, small voice” of God. As we spend extra time with the Lord to listen and re-evaluate our priorities at the end of the year, we give Holy Spirit the opportunity to speak God’s love to us and help redirect us from any negative tendencies in our lives.
Send powerful messages to the important people in your life – Take time to tell people what they mean to you. Find ways to say “thank you” to those who are serving you and making a difference in your life. These acts of kindness will make a bigger difference than you know.
Make a list of what you did well in the year – Don’t just dwell on what you could have done better in the year, but celebrate your successes and what you did right. The devil is called the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). He constantly wants to accuse us of what we are not and where we still fall short. God’s heart for us is not to listen to the devil’s accusations, but to rejoice in the progress we are making in Him.
Find ways to take positive steps towards the goals you had for the year – Most of us have some goals for the year that we did not complete. As we draw to the end of December, it is a good time to revisit these goals and take some active steps towards greater momentum in these areas. For instance, if we did not eliminate as much debt as we purposed to do, then pay something extra toward the debt’s principal (even if it is very small). Or, if you wanted to write consistently for a blog but didn’t make as much progress as you'd hoped, contact someone who has written a blog and ask them to pray with you about a strategy to write more in the coming year.
I see God empowering you with an incredible spiritual “kick” as you finish off 2016 and welcome 2017. Bless you much.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.