“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3:13-14
At the beginning of a new year many people set goals, and for the first several weeks they stay on track to achieving them. Sadly, many people get derailed even though we intellectually know what coaches, personal trainers, teachers and mentors tell us: that there is payoff when we persevere.
There is so much more to achieving a goal than just writing it down. First, as with our sport, we need to consider why we have taken on the goal. The "Why?" will assist us in overcoming many obstacles. Second, just as we anticipate the moves of our athletic opponents, we also need to anticipate the challenges to our goals and plan what we will do when these occasions arise. Sometimes the opponents of our goals may get the better of us. That’s why it’s also important that we decide ahead of time that setbacks don’t have to stop us. We can use them as opportunities to improve.
In pursuit of our goals, we also need to determine how success will be measured. As we work toward our main goal, we should have indicators that show us we are on the right track. One helpful way to stay on target is to tell others about our goals. This helps keep us accountable and makes us more likely to follow through. It also encourages others to pray for us and ask us how we are doing, and consistently reporting to others can keep us motivated.
Throughout the process, we must remember that our goals must be submitted to God. He is the One who supplies our strength and helps us press through to the end. We must keep God first and ask Him for wisdom and strength. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” No, it won’t require less effort when we keep God first. It will take faith, discipline and obedience. But by trusting Him and persevering we can cling to Hebrews 12:11, which says, “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
As a marathoner I connect with God, determine the goal, incorporate the support of athletes, make wise lifestyle choices and train hard in an effort to achieve the goal. With all that, I have yet to be handed a medal simply for showing up to a race. The award comes after I cross the finish line. God will help us on the journey but we must persevere and lean on Him to help us finish strong.
- What are your goals for this year?
- Have you asked God to be first in the process?
- How are you staying motivated?
Lord, thank You for blessing me with godly people and resources to help me on my journey. Please forgive me for the times when I have not put You first in my life. I ask You to guide me in implementing and achieving the goals you have set out for me this year so I can be a witness for You. Without You I am nothing, but with You all things are possible. To You be all the glory, honor and praise. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.