WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 11, 2021
TOPIC: WHAT GOALS ARE YOU PURSUING THIS YEAR?
BY T. O. BANSO
“I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 American Standard Version).
A goal is defined as “the end toward which effort is directed.” It is also defined as “an objective or target that someone is trying to reach or achieve.” In addition, it is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” What goals have you set for yourself for this year? What goals are you pursuing?
Where there is no clearly defined goal, people remain stagnant or go astray. Where there is no clearly defined goal, people lack the enthusiasm to do anything great. Where there is no goal, people live aimlessly and die prematurely. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (King James Version).
Paul the apostle says in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 American Standard Version). Earlier in verse 13, he said, “Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing (I do), forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before” (American Standard Version).
Paul had a goal that he was pursuing which kept him going despite all the challenges that could have frustrated him. His eyes were more focused on his goal than on his problems. He regarded problems as unavoidable obstacles. He must overcome them and get to the destination; he would not give up on the way. And he achieved his goal.
Listen to what he said in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (New King James Version).
Only those who have the kind of mindset of Paul can set godly goals and achieve them. Those who understand the heartbeat of God. Those whose values and desires align with that of God. Those who have faith in God to empower them. Those who have set their face like a flint. Those who have acquired the required discipline and are ready to pay the price to win the prize.
This year is moving on gradually. What are you going to do with the days, weeks, and months ahead? Are you going to go through the new-year aimlessly? Are you going to believe God for greater things? Jesus told Nathaniel, “…You will see greater things than these” (John 1:50 New King James Version).
This year can indeed be your year of greater things if you’ll cooperate with God to give birth to what He has in store for you, things He wants to accomplish in your life. It can be the year that God will do awesome things in your life beyond your highest expectations.
God wants you to set and pursue goals that are in line with His plan and purpose. Don’t fight as one who beats the air (1 Corinthians 9:26). Be certain about the goals you’re pursuing.
Please don’t confuse what I’m talking about with the yearly New Year resolutions, which are disregarded as soon as they are made. Goals are different from the usual New Year resolutions. And even the goals I am talking about are not just goals for the sake of setting goals. I am not talking about high-sounding goals somebody has set to make himself feel good or probably impress others.
I am talking about specific things you believe God to accomplish within a particular period. I am talking about goals that could be bigger than you but not too big for God to help you achieve. They are goals you cannot realize by your own strength, wisdom, or resources but with the help of the Lord. This is called faith. “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see” (Hebrews 11:1 New Living Translation).
These goals must not be a long list of your aspirations in life. They should be God’s priority for you this year. Paul said in Philippians 3:13 that he was focusing on one thing. “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing” (verse 13 New Living Translation).
Jesus said to Martha, “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42 King James Version). Not two or three things but only one thing should be the top priority that time and unfortunately, Martha missed it. You won’t miss it in Jesus’ name. You will get your goals right.
Your goals can relate to spiritual attainment, as it was in the case of Paul that we saw earlier. They could also be issues of interest in your secular life, other than spiritual. They could be in your ministry, marriage, academics, business, and so on. God is interested in your total well-being. He is interested in every aspect of your life. And you need the power of God to attain your goals in every area of your life.
What goals are you pursuing and you depend on God to accomplish? It’s a brand new year. And anything is possible. “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’” (Mark 9:23 New King James Version). Do you believe? What can you believe God for in the New Year? “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible’” (Mark 10:27 New King James Version).
Put these two scriptures together and there is no stopping you this year. Some things may be impossible for you but with God all things are possible. Brace up for a year of great possibilities! Get ready for your year of Greater Glory! But beyond excitement, be guided by the Holy Spirit. In the world, they talk of S.M.A.R.T Goals. The Holy Spirit can help you to set S.M.A.R.T goals beyond what your intelligence alone can strive to do. Let your goals be S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
A God-inspired goal is achievable even when it seems unreasonable to you or others. “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 22:19 New King James Version). Nevertheless, you must do your part, which includes avoiding distractions and being well-focused, paying the price, and being diligent.
Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance and advantage, but everyone who acts in haste comes surely to poverty” (Amplified Bible). The chapter continues in verse 20, “There is precious treasure and oil in the house of the wise [who prepare for the future], but a short-sighted and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it” (Amplified Bible).
To achieve your goals, you need discipline. The apostle Paul talks about how he disciplined himself to achieve his goal. “So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27 New Living Translation).
Some people were not able to realize their goals in the past because they slept too much, talked too much, played too much, ate too much, spent too much, etc. They must discipline themselves this year to achieve their goals. Paul achieved his goal. He said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7
New King James Version). You can achieve yours, too.
May the glory of this year in your life be greater than the glory of the previous years 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: Holy Spirit, help me to set the right goals for the year and achieve them. Deliver me from distractions. Let this year be my greatest year ever. The glory of 2021 in my life shall be greater than that of the previous years in Jesus’ name. Father, as I pursue the goals you have impressed upon my spirit, do in my life this year, awesome things beyond my highest expectations.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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