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Summary: Many Americans who are poor at finishing their tasks are depressed and suffering in silence. The Land of Plenty seems to live up to its name when it comes to mental illness. New research indicates that like many other nations, the U.S. has plenty of menta

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Why Some Fail to Finish Well

2 Tim. 4:7,8 - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous Judge will award to me and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

Many Americans who are poor at finishing their tasks are depressed and suffering in silence.

Illustration:(May 7) -- The Land of Plenty seems to live up to its name when it comes to mental illness. New research indicates that like many other nations, the U.S. has plenty of mentally ill citizens, but we also have plenty of problems in treating them.

According to the finding, the U.S. has the largest percentage of mentally ill citizens among five countries studied -- about 29% of its residents -- but scored worst in treating those with serious problems, caring for only one in three people who need it. These conclusions, published in the May/June issue of the journal Health Affairs, are based on surveys of more than 23,000 people in the U.S., Canada, Chile, Germany, and the Netherlands conducted through the 1990s by an international team of researchers.

1. Preoccupation - Some people become so engrossed in their activities, problems and programs that they tend to neglect communion with God, His Word and His people. Folks who allow certain interests to dominate their thinking often exclude the most important aspects of fellowshipping with the Lord. Martha was one who became so preoccupied with her busy preparations of food that Jesus had to rebuke her saying, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about many things, but Mary has chosen the one needful thing which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)

2. Taking on Too Much - Some people are over-responsible in that they do not how to admit that they cannot do everything well. These individuals often take on too many responsibilities fearing that they may not accomplish all that they have their heart set on completing. Paul wrote to the busy Roman church, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the faith God has given you." (Rom. 12:3)

3. Rationalization - Some people offer a specious explanation to justify their poorly thought out behavior. When people fail to complete their tasks they quietly say to themselves, "Oh well, people will understand since I am trying so hard to do so much. God told Saul, "To obey is better than sacrifice."

4. Failure to Focus on Jesus who was a Finisher - Jesus was able to say, "It is finished." (John 19:30) The Lord Jesus also said, "I have accomplished the work you have given me to do." (John 17:7) Only the people who complete what God has called them to do are able to experience the fullness of God’s blessings for their lives and ministries.

5. Resistance to Structure - Some people feel belittled when they have to submit to a disciplined plan or to another person’s authority. These free spirited people often use this excuse for their rebellious attitude. We all need to learn to trust and obey those who are in authority over us for the sake of complying with the principles of Romans 13:1-4.

6. Fear of Rejection - Some people do not want to deal with the criticism, misunderstanding or put downs by people who with blast them for success. Solomon wrote, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever puts his trust in the Lord is safe."

7. Poor follow-through- Perhaps this is the biggest reason why many people finish poorly. Paul wrote, "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales, but discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness, for godliness is profitable for all things." (I Tim. 4:7,8)Ask the Lord to help you to finish the race God has called you to run.

8. Distractibility - Some people are easily led astray by various distractions that might include the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. (I John 2:15,16) Other people are distracted by the desire to appear normal and not to be different from the majority. Still other individuals are distracted because they have not learned to focus on a task until it is done to 100% completion figuring that sincerity is enough.

9. Failure to delay gratification - Many Americans grow up with a short attention span. It is common to see many people be unwilling to listen for more than few seconds before they change the channel with their remote control. This tendency to demand instant gratification indicates a failure to exercise godly patience and self-control. Love is patient and kind, it does not demand its own way. (I Cor. 13:4-7)

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