God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil evil, evil, evil from morning to night. God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart. … But Noah was different. God liked what he saw in Noah. Genesis 6:5-6, 8 (MSG)
"You cannot be all God wants you to be and fit in with everybody else. "
There are four specific pitfalls you will face over your Decade of Destiny as you work toward the goals God gives you: cultural distractions, voices of doubt, tempting shortcuts and discouraging delays. All four of these pitfalls are present in the life of Noah and we can learn from him how to handle these tests.
The first test is cultural distraction. What I'm talking are the things that happen around us that keep us from going after our God-given dreams. For instance --
- The distraction of popularity -- If you are always worried about what other people think, you will be distracted from your destiny.
- The distraction of pleasure – It’s okay to have fun and feel comfort, but if that's the primary focus of your life, you will never fulfill your destiny.
- The distraction of profits -- There is nothing wrong with making a profit. The Bible says God blesses us when we do business wisely and honestly, but it also says you cannot serve both God and money. Making a profit cannot be the primary focus of your life.
- The distraction of possessions -- Judging your success by how much stuff you own will keep you concerned about keeping things and maintaining things. You could spend your whole life committed to things and miss the purpose, the plan and the destiny of your life.
If you intend to do anything significant with your life, it's going to be in spite of culture rather than because of the culture. Everything in our culture tempts you into short-term thinking. Most of us are not thinking in terms of the next ten years; we’re not even thinking about next year or next month. We think about today.
And I know I’m stretching you to suggest you to think ten years ahead, but as we noted yesterday, “The wise man looks ahead.” (Proverbs 14:8a TLB)
The antidote to cultural distractions is this: you must dare to be different from others. If you are going to reach your dream in the next decade, if you are going to fulfill your destiny, if you are going to accomplish your goals and see your vision become reality, you are going to have to dare to be different from others.
And until you settle this issue, you will never fulfill your destiny because you cannot make a difference without being different. You cannot be all God wants you to be and fit in with everybody else.
Noah was different. God liked what he saw in Noah. Everything was headed toward destruction, but two words changed history -- "but Noah." That's the power of one person. That's the power of just one individual. That's the power you have in your life when you decide to be different and follow the commands of Jesus.
Pray -- God, I admit a lot of times I've worried about what other people thought more than I’ve thought about doing the right thing. As I face this new decade, I want to dare to be different from others. I want to be a pleasure to you. I want to be different so I can make a difference.