“I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
~Philippians 3:14 (NIV)
Many years ago, I worked in management at a large corporation, where each year we were required to set goals. The goals included short-term, medium-range and long-term aspirations for both our personal careers and the company. There was such an emphasis placed on goal setting (and achieving!) that our annual bonuses were actually based upon our success in reaching the goals we set. There was a great deal of money on the line, so we all took our goal setting very seriously.
I watched the movie, “War Room,” a few months ago and walked away from it knowing that one of my spiritual goals is to have a stronger prayer life. The movie opened my eyes to the precision and shrewdness of the enemy’s attacks and the power of prayer in defeating him.
I’ve always strived to have a strong prayer life, but until watching this movie, I didn’t really know what that meant. If you have not yet see “War Room,” it comes with my highest recommendation.
I learned, through my previous job, that goals have to be “S.M.A.R.T.” There are a few different meanings to this acronym but it generally stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. To say,”I want to have a strong prayer life,” is none of those things, so it is more of a statement than a goal. (There is a wealth of information on the internet about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and I encourage you to check it out!)
As 2016 draws to a close, I will once again be spending time reflecting on my life and setting some goals for the year ahead. First on that list will be a goal to spur growth in my prayer life, not only to fight the enemy and his attacks, but also to strengthen my relationship with Jesus through that dialogue.
Jesus left His throne in Heaven, came to earth with goals and never took His eye off the prize. He was here to defeat Satan, overcome death, reconcile us to the Father and above all else, bring glory to the Father in everything He did. Every move Jesus made while on earth brought Him closer to accomplishing those goals. Praise God that we are the ones who reaped the “bonus” of His work!
The times in my life when I’ve felt like I was just “going through the motions” can always be traced back to a lack of goals and focus in my life. Jesus never lost focus, never strayed from His purpose. He always knew why He was here and where He was going.
Baseball legend, Yogi Berra, once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” I encourage you to set aside some time during this busy season to reflect on where you are today in your walk with Christ and where you want to be at this time next year. I believe you will be amazed not only in the destination when you arrive at your goal, but also at the joy in the journey.