WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 3, 2020
TOPIC: WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR?
BY T. O. BANSO
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 New Living Translation).
We’ve just entered the second half of this year. Are you realizing the goals you set for the year? Nearly everybody didn’t anticipate the crisis the current pandemic has caused globally. The goals of many people have been affected by the pandemic and the associated lockdowns.
For some people, however, the problem is that they never set any goals at the beginning of the year or they set goals that were not realistic or feasible. Therefore, they have no goals really to review. They can only lament over the consequences of the pandemic.
While it is true that the pandemic has caused setback for people, we cannot continue to agonize. We must not surrender our destinies to the pandemic. We must, in the midst of the pandemic, trust God to make progress and achieve our goals.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (Ecclesiastes 11:4).
Those who set goals, which have been threatened by the pandemic, and those who didn’t set goals or set unrealistic goals, still have six months to make the most of this year.
In view of the challenges posed by the pandemic, it will be proper for those who set goals at the beginning of the year to review or revise them and make goals that are achievable. Every other person who didn’t set goals or set unachievable goals now has opportunity to to set realistic goals and not waste the remaining half of the year.
You may be in a country or state where there is lockdown; you don’t have to waste this season. You should find ways of turning adversity into advantage. There should be something tangible you’re doing with your life, as you stay at home. If because of the pandemic, you’ve not been at work in the last three, four, five or six months, what have you achieved with your life? It would be bad if you’ve just been sleeping and waking up, and waiting for the time the pandemic will end. Though we are praying, nobody knows the exact time this pandemic will end.
In setting goals for yourself or revising your goals, first find out God’s purpose for your life. In saying that, I assume that you are born again or you’ve given your life to Jesus. If you haven’t given your life to Jesus, I urge you to do that now. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour now.
Your goals should be related to your life’s purpose. I am talking about God-honouring goals. Paul speaks about his purpose in life. “But you know what I teach, Timothy, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is” (2 Timothy 3:10 New Living Translation). Do you know your purpose in life?
People waste their lives, energy, time and other resources when they are motivated by greed, covetousness, and so on to set and pursue their goals. God is not committed to helping them to realize such goals.
Sometimes, God may not even oppose such people in realizing such goals, but if they achieve them, they shouldn’t give the glory to Him. He doesn’t need it. Such supposed success is more dangerous than a glaring failure. However, when you derive your goals from your purpose, these goals will transport you to the future God has for you.
Prayerfully receive and set your goals. Don’t pick goals from around you, watching what others are doing, what your friends and neighbours plan to do, etc. As a child of God, derive your goals from God, not by copying others. That’s why some people’s goals fail even when there is no pandemic.
Let your goals not only be what you want to do, but what God wants you to do. Let it be what God is prepared to help you to accomplish. So pray about your goals and listen to the Spirit of God.
Spend time with God and listen to the impression in your spirit. What is the Spirit of God moving your heart towards? What vision is God giving you? What steps is God telling you to take? Don’t leave God out of your goals. Saul, after the LORD encountered him on the way to Damascus, asked, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:6a New King James Version).
Involve God in setting your goals. James 4:13-16 says, “Look here, you people who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog — it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’ Otherwise you will be boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil” (New Living Translation).
God does not grant just anything we desire. He is not quick to give us just anything we want. He is concerned about His purpose for our lives and wants us to derive whatever goals we want to pursue in life from that purpose. Many people waste their lives pursuing irrelevant goals.
In this regard, you must be careful that you don’t set high-sounding goals. Beware of grandiose goals. Don’t set goals that suggest you’re just on ego-trip or out to impress others. Don’t play to the gallery; don’t build your castles in the air. If anyone does that, the pandemic won’t be the reason for his failure.
Be wise. “Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24 New Living Translation). Wisdom helps you to succeed (Ecclesiastes 10::10b). Wisdom is the principal thing (Proverbs 4:7a). Ask God for Wisdom and He will give you (James 1:5).
You should concern yourself with what you believe the Holy Spirit is moving your heart to pursue in the remaining half of this year. It may not be an entirely new thing. It may be a new dimension of something you’re already doing. Don’t be moved by competitive jealousy, envy or mere selfish ambition. God is not behind such.
Thank God for what He is doing for others, but face what He has set to do in your life. Don’t be like Peter, whom the Master, Jesus, had to scold because of his inquisitiveness about the future of another.
“Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’ Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?’” (John 21:20-23 New King James Version).
What Jesus told Peter in today’s language is: “Face your business”. I say to you also to face your business – set your own goals; don’t monitor or compete with others. “This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business…” (1Thessalonians 4:11 New Living Translation).
You must forget your past if you must press towards your goal. Paul the apostle said, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 New King James Version). Don’t be a slave to the past. Let it not frustrate your destiny.
That something didn’t work in the past, doesn’t mean it is destined never to work. Learn lessons from the failure or success of the past, but don’t be a slave to the past. Don’t waste the remaining six months of this year.
Prayerfully set realistic goals and commit yourself to accomplishing them, depending on the Holy Spirit. The SMART acronym could also be helpful. Set and pursue goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26b). Everything is possible for one who has faith (Mark 9:23b). Trust God and fulfil your responsibilities towards actualizing your goals. Pay the price. You shall not fail in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I will not waste the remaining six months of this year. I shall prayerfully set my goals and pursue them. I shall not wait for perfect conditions. I shall make the most of the remaining months of the year. I shall not allow myself to be distracted or discouraged.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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