In his book, Making the Most of Life, Leroy Brownlow tells a story about an accomplished marksmen who was passing through a small community one day. Soon he saw evidence of amazing shooting skills. On barns, trees, fences, everywhere there were targets with a hole in the exact center of the bull’s eye. He had to find this amazing marksman.
Upon meeting the marksman and congratulating him, he asked, “”You’re shooting beats anything I’ve ever seen; How do you do it? “
“The marksman replied, “Easy. I shoot first. Then drew the circles around the holes.”
As we begin a new year our work for the week is “goals.”
Brownlow’s story reminds us that many people in life, often aim at nothing. They just shoot! Then draw the circles of life around whatever they hit. It is living life without purpose, focus or aim. In fact, I have actually heard some Christians say that we shouldn’t set goals. They feel goal setting is secular, and we are to be spiritual. They feel that goal setting fails to rely on God’s purpose and providence for our lives. I disagree!
Goal Setting is Biblical
(1) The heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 had goals. Abraham looked for the city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God .” Moses’ goal was to lead Israel to Canaan. Joshua’s goal was to conquer Canaan. Daniel‘s goal was to pray three times a day.
(2) Teaching has a goal. Paul told Timothy, “the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Tim 1:5, NAS)
(3) There is a goal to faith. Peter affirmed, “you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Pet 1:9, NIV)
(4) Our ultimate goal should be to please God. “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” (2 Cor 5:9, NIV)
Paul’s Goal Setting Formula
While there are many aspects to successful goal setting, the apostle Paul provides a simple plan for setting and achieving our goals.
“But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14, NKJV)
(1) Forget the past. Paul let go of the past that could have held him back. Sins. Slights by brethren. Sickness. Sorrow. And persecutions by enemies. You can learn from the past, but don’t live in the past. To move forward toward your goal, forget the past.
(2) Reach forward. The ESV translates this word “straining. ” It is a word of a runner going hard for the tape,. It describes him as eyes on the goal, arms clawing the air, head leaning forward, body bent, and legs stretching out. It pictures one running flat-out for the finish line!
Spiritually speaking, we can’t let up. Our goal is to focus on running the Christian race. It requires physical effort. Emotional energy. And spiritual stretching!
(3) Press on! Reaching your goal demands persistence. Endurance. Resolve.
You got a problem? Press on! Had a setback? Press on! Lost a loved one? Press on! Feel discouraged? Press on! Experienced difficulties? Press on! Got a tough temptation? Press on! Fighting physical ailments? Press on! Is your heart heavy? Press on! Is your mind anxious? Press on!
Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Don’t give out! Keep on going!
What are your spiritual goals for 2015? A bible reading program? Developing your talent? Overcoming a bad habit? Adding a new virtue? Memorizing scripture? Daily prayer? Unselfish service to others? Closer intimacy with God?
You can achieve your goals. Follow Paul’s plan. It worked for him. And it will work for you!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman