Daily decisions determine future patterns; diligence today builds stronger tomorrow

During the last sermon of Bible Conference, Dr. Les Ollila made a profound statement that challenges us to live in awareness that each decision is important: “I am becoming what I will be in 10 years — one choice at a time.”

For students, our years spent learning at college can be some of the most formative times in life. Our worldviews are solidified, we establish habits and patterns, and we desire to determine the general direction of our future. As students, we feel the pressure of big decisions weighing on us: Where will I go after I graduate? Will I find a job? What job do I even want? Is marriage my next step?

But we may often forget how significant the seemingly small decisions are; those day-by-day decisions can impact us for a lifetime. If we take a moment to consider who we want to be in 10 years, will we find that our habits, thought patterns and friends will build and shape us to reach that mile marker down the road? Or will we discover that we have work to do?

None of our decisions are exempt from impacting who we are now and what we will become. Because daily decisions are this significant, we must beware of the “I’ll get serious once I…” syndrome. We tell ourselves that once we hit a certain milestone such as graduation, marriage or our first job, then we’ll start serving Christ or pursuing worthwhile goals. But consider the pattern we’ve already created in deciding to delay these important steps. In 10 years, we’ll still be saying, “I’ll do that later.” It’s the pattern we’re creating now through the very decision to delay important steps that we could be pursuing already.

What can we pursue right now? Particularly, a diligent work ethic. Commencement isn’t in 10 years, but in a mere five weeks. It’s crunch time, and our day-to-day decisions are crucial.

When finals approach, we frequently cram at the last minute and fall into desperation mode because our grades should be higher, but unfortunately, the final exam determines an A or B, or even pass or fail. As we sit down to take the final exam, we might kick ourselves for not acing the tests earlier in the semester or for not submitting all our assignments on time. Should’ve, would’ve and could’ve become very popular words at that time.

With five weeks left, we have time to avoid the end-of-the-semester panic by making strong, God-honoring decisions now. We should conscientiously use our time to complete assignments and to study, and we should work diligently with the end goal in mind. Our success at the end of the semester isn’t determined solely by the final exam; it’s determined throughout the semester, one step at a time.

So set goals now, and be faithful to them. Start spending 10 more minutes in the Word each day, or run one mile farther, or study a half hour longer. Those small, step-by-step decisions can potentially shape you into the more Christlike, diligent or healthy person you hope to be in 10 years.