The title of this post is from Stephen Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. I was introduced to the habits and the book when my kids attended a local elementary school a few years ago. I have found the habits to be very helpful in my personal life, as well as, God has led me to write some Bible lessons from those habits. After all, all truth is God’s truth. Therefore, if it is true, it is from God. I used this particular habit with our youngest son this weekend. He is a wrestler. This is his third year in wrestling. He has great coaches around him, a strong work ethic, and a God-given athletic ability. It has been a lot of fun to watch him grow in the sport over the last three years. God has allowed him to enjoy some measure of success over these three years. However, each of the first two years he went to the state tournament, he fell a little short of the podium. The first year it was because he went up against other kids who had better technique than he did. Last year, he went a little further but ran out of steam by the time he reached the quarterfinals. Therefore, this year Diana and I decided towards the end of 2018 and into 2019, we would start putting him into double brackets most weekends. That means he would wrestle his normal weight division, but then also wrestle in a higher weight division in the same day. We put this plan into action this past weekend. Instead of getting a customary three matches for the tournament, we expected him to get six. However, it ended up that he got four matches in each weight class. This was perfect, because depending on how you do at the double elimination state tournament, you could wrestle as few as six matches or as many as eight. Things didn’t go as well for him as he wanted or expected them to. He suffered more losses this past weekend than he had combined for the year going into this tournament. He was understandably upset and frustrated. However, I had to keep reminding him of the goal. He set a goal at the beginning of this season to place in the state tournament. That was his big goal for the year. Therefore, I had to keep reminding him this past Saturday, that medals in these tournaments are nice, but they are not the goal. The goal is to get better, and to build endurance so that he stands a better chance at reaching his overall goal of placing at state. At times that can be a hard lesson for a nine year old to comprehend. Let’s be honest, that can sometimes be a hard lesson for us as adults to comprehend. As we were leaving the gym, I simply told him, “today is going to make you stronger and better if you let it. We put you in two weight classes to prepare you for the state tournament. You took a step closer to your ultimate goal this year today. Therefore, you didn’t lose matches, you were presented with an opportunity to learn from those matches.” Will that reminder help? I don’t know, I certainly hope so. But what does this have to do with you or me? We aren’t training for a state tournament or any major athletic events.
What it has to do with us, is something that we must always remember. We need to remember what the goal of our life is. A lot of people try to approach life from a ripple effect method. They start where they are, and then draw lines out of how that will change their life. However, a more effective method is to begin with the end in mind. You lay out what your ultimate goal is, and then work backwards to where you are. As you do that, you lay out the plan for how to go from where you are to where you want to be. In order to do this, you must first define your goal. What is the purpose of your life? How will you judge your life as you get near the end of your life? For the Christian, the goal has been set for us. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” The ultimate goal for a Christian is to glorify God by seeking Him. Colossians 1:16 reminds us that we were “created by Him and for Him.” The way I seek the kingdom is to seek Jesus, and to live in a right relationship with Him, and then seek to grow in that relationship with Him throughout my life. With the goal established, then I must take an honest assessment of my life to determine where I am. Am I truly seeking God and growing in my relationship with Him? What changes need to be made in my life in order for that to happen? What are some ways that God is trying to change me, and deepen my faith in Him? Then through prayer, we ask God to reveal to us how He desires to accomplish those changes so that we hit our ultimate goal.
As we prepare to start a new year, ask yourself a few questions. First, what is the purpose of my life right now? You can look at how you spend your time, your talents, and your resources to get a better grasp on what is the most important to you. Is the goal you are driving towards right now, the goal you ultimately want to hit? If not, what goal do you need to be aiming at? With your current attitudes and actions, will you hit the goal you are aiming at? If not, what changes need to be made? Finally, are you willing to pay the price and make the necessary changes to hit your goal?
If your goal in 2019 is to know God or to grow in God, and you need some help with either of those things; I hope you will reach out to us here at Westlake. Regardless of where you live, we want to help you know God and grow in God. You can reach out to us through e-mail, social media, or feel free to call us. We want you to know that we are praying for you, and we pray that this will be the year that God gets ahold of your heart and changes you for His glory and your good.