“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1)
There are many choices that we make every day that factor into whether or not we are living a planned and purposeful life in the year 2014. Living this form of life is not based on where we are on Sunday or where we are at the end of the year solely, but rather is based on the actions we take day in and day out. The decisions we make every morning and every night determine whether or not we are living in a planned and purposeful way.
Running Our Race
The Apostle Paul in writing the Hebrew letter used a very specific analogy here in the 12th chapter. He uses the analogy of running a race. There are several key things that are a part of running a race that are also very key aspects to setting goals and living a planned life. Let us take a moment to consider these:
- Pacing Required – To be successful running any race you must be able to keep your pace. Whether the race lasts 10 seconds or 3 hours if you fall behind the pace you will not be successful. Likewise, if you get ahead of the pace you are likely to fail altogether and not even finish. When it comes to setting our goals we must also keep pace. Take for instance if our goal for the year is to increase our fellowship with our fellow church members. If in the first month we spend 15 nights visiting with church members we are likely to get burned out and fall behind in other aspects of our lives. The visitation is great but the pacing is off. Our goals must be worked toward with a steady pace that can be maintained.
- Fatigue is Inevitable – If you are putting forth your best effort running a race is going to bring on fatigue. If it doesn’t you are not giving it your best effort and more desire is necessary. Our goals should bring on the same level of fatigue. They should challenge us and make us put forth great effort. Consider this example, your goal is to increase your church attendance. While this is a great goal, if you have only missed a couple of Sundays over the last few years this is not going to make you stretch. In fact, this is less of a goal and more of a really good habit or priority. Goals should make us reach for something more that requires our effort.
- A Clear Finish Line – Races have finish lines. If they didn’t we wouldn’t call them a race. Goals also need to have a clear ending. That ending can be based on time or it can be based on results. Our spiritual life needs goals or we are not doing as the Apostle said. We are not running a race but rather just out for a casual stroll. Many would make the end of the race to be death, but that finish line has already been secured by our Lord and Savior. We don’t have to win that race. The finish line is our obedience here in time. Let us seek for that finish line through setting goals.
Setting Goals and Service
There is one key aspect that must be mentioned in regards to setting goals. The goals we set should bring us closer in our service to the Lord. This is not to say that your goals should all be based around reading the bible or attending church. Goals can be in many areas of our lives and bring us into greater service to the Lord. My wife is a beautiful example. She has goals set for running. Her goals are ambitious and require a great deal of hard work. However, if you ask her how she gets through the miles the response the majority of times is by praying. While her goal is physical the closeness to the Lord is what makes it work. As we set goals and strive to accomplish them each step should bring us closer in our walk with the Lord.
May the Lord bless you this day to begin setting goals for the year ahead. Strive to live a year that is planned and purposeful.
May the Lord bless you this day,
Elder J.W. Cunningham