World famous golfer Gary Player is credited with a line that well explains why he made a success of his career; ‘the harder I practice, the luckier I get’. His attitude was one of commitment and determination. This week at Stonehaven Baptist Church we too looked at goals we have in our lives and how we might achieve them, taking our lead from disciple Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi.
Paul’s goal was simple; to know Christ and to grasp God’s perfect will for his life. He yearned to grow in his faith and become more like Christ. Jesus lived his life in a manner that exemplified perfection and Paul recognized the importance of following his lead.
Life can be described as a journey that never truly finds us ‘arriving’. When we become Christians, in other words dedicating our lives to Jesus, we’ve by no means completed a journey, we’ve begun one, an enlightening one. A life devoted to Jesus is something of a privilege when we consider what he did to connect us to his father God, demonstrating amazing grace in that he died for us, giving himself as a sacrifice those who put their faith in him. So how do we approach this journey that enables us to know this Jesus better and to discern his will for our lives?
Well first, we acknowledge our weakness and vulnerability, accepting that we do need a strength that lies outside of ourselves and that it’s not just about inner strength. We have growing to do and can only achieve this by forgetting the past. So much lies behind us, much of it regrettable; mistakes, poor choices, bad behaviours, but we can’t keep beating ourselves up over such things, these experiences cannot be expunged and dwelling upon them will not achieve positive results. If we allow ourselves to get weighed down by the heaviness of regret, it’s impossible to move forward freely, instead we’ll merely stagger and strain. We must forget what lies behind and instead look forward to what lies ahead, committing to it. This is what ‘pressing on’ looks like, to strive, to pursue life and not let it swamp us.
Struggles will always exist, however a life in close relationship with God strengthens us and find us achieving the will he has for our lives, his loving and perfect will. We set our eyes then on this goal; to walk in step with God, trusting in him, forging a close relationship with him and becoming mature in our faith. This means leaving behind our pride and arrogance, acknowledging our need for spiritual guidance and being open to the promptings of the God who created us, didn’t abandon us, and, if we’ll allow him, abides in us. Sure, we can get by without developing a relationship with God, we’ll muddle through, but why reject the promise of everlasting peace, why bite the hand that feeds us? If we make our goal to press on and know God better, there’s a beautiful life in store.