Have you ever dreamed of being better than you are? You listened to that singer, you watched that athlete, you tasted that meal and you said, “I wish I could do that!” In your imagination you were as good as they were.
I’ve often imagined dunking a basketball. I’ve watched the talented players in college games jump to unbelievable heights and slam the ball in the goal. In my mind’s eye, I can see myself doing the same thing. Now, at my age and physical condition, not to mention height to weight ratio, that’s just not going to happen. But it doesn’t stop me from dreaming. Someone summed it up by saying, “We’re all great in our dreams.”
Just because we may not reach our wildest dreams, doesn’t mean that we can’t be more than we are. The fact is that many of us fail to achieve the potential that lies within us. For various reasons, we are unable to “Be all we can be.” This is especially true in our relationship with God.
Why are we here? Is there some reason for my existence? Some purpose for being on this planet? This is one of the great mysteries of life. Fortunately for us, the answer is found in the pages of the Bible.
It is God’s ultimate purpose for us to bring glory to Himself by being all that He intended us to be. Sin keeps us from this purpose. We are sinners by nature and by choice. In other words, we are born sinners, and we sin. It is sin that keeps us from fulfilling our potential.
How can we fulfill our God-given, God-glorifying potential? It begins with a goal. A goal enables us to focus on where we are going rather than where we are, or where we have been.
There are several benefits of a goal:
Losing all purpose in life can be tragic. For some, it is even fatal. It may be a husband or wife who dies after the passing of a spouse of many years. Or a teenager who takes their own life, or a housewife at her wit’s end. Whatever the circumstances, it can often be traced back to the futility and hopelessness that come with a loss of purpose.
A goal will also provide us with motivation. It makes what you want to accomplish attainable. When you see that it is possible, it motivates you. A goal determines your direction. It shows you what to do. Have you ever felt like the Senator that was aboard a train? When the conductor came by, he was frantically searching for his ticket. He told the conductor, “I can’t seem to find my ticket.”
“That’s alright,” said the conductor said, “We know who you are. You don’t have to find it.”
“You don’t understand,” answered the embarrassed Senator, “I can’t remember where I’m getting of.”
Sometimes we feel the same way. On the train of life, headed somewhere fast, but not sure where we’re going.
Goals improve our focus. They allow us to focus on improvement rather than just activity. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, rather than the business of life. In order to focus on the truly important things in life, I have to be working toward the right goal.
Goals provide a way to measure our progress. They let us know if we are moving forward, and if we are still on track. There’s an old Charles Schulz cartoon where Charlie Brown is shooting a bow and arrow. He shoots an arrow that sticks in the fence, then goes over and draws a circle around it. That pretty much describes the approach of a lot of people. Just do whatever, and then pretend that’s what we were aiming for all along. That may help us claim success and feel good about ourselves, but a real goal helps insure we hit the target and make legitimate progress.
It’s clear we all need a goal, but what should that goal be? How high should we shoot? Maybe you are afraid to aim too high for fear of failure. James Russell Lowell said, “Not failure, but low aim is crime.” Low aim leads to little lives.
Low goals reflect self reliance instead of trust in God’s work and strength. The founder of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor, said, “Many Christians estimate difficulties in the light of their own resources, and thus attempt little and often fail in the little they attempt.” When we rely only on our own strength, we will accomplish little. Thankfully we don’t have to only rely on ourselves. The Apostle Paul states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”
In life, low aim may be a crime, but for a Christian, it is sin. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”
Jesus makes the Christian’s goal simple: “Love the Lord with all.” This is a high goal! In fact, it is the highest. The beauty of this God-given goal is that it will enable us to fulfill our God-given purpose. It is not more labor, but more love that God desires. Not greater works, but heartfelt worship. It’s not about religion, it’s about relationship.
You see, if you love God, you will labor. If we worship, we will work. That’s why God gives us one goal that will complete all His purpose for us.
Since we were created to love, we will only be fulfilled when we love the very one we were created to love. Thus, this one primary goal will effect God’s glory and our good. It will allow us to experience the “life more abundant.” When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will be all we can be.