Philippians 3:13-14 But this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
About this time of year, the passion of New Year’s resolutions and goals begin to wane, as the rush of everyday responsibilities consume us. I want to encourage you to not let the busyness and routine of everyday life crush your hopes and dreams for 2018. 2018 can and should be your best year yet, regardless of what circumstances may be threatening to steal your peace. Having the best year of your life doesn’t mean you’ll never have to face challenges or difficulties. It comes back to your focus on what God has spoken into your heart, as well as sticking to your core convictions. What you choose to focus on is what will impact your life in 2018 more than anything else. There are some things in life we cannot control. There is no point allowing your focus or peace to be distracted by these things. What you must focus on are those things you’ve been entrusted with and can take responsibility for. I’ve learnt that if I will play my part and give 100% to what I’ve been called to do, the rest of my life takes care of itself. Take heart, God is for you and he has anointed you with talents, abilities and responsibilities that require your attention. The arena you will see the most reward from is connected to you focusing on those very gifts and strengths that God has entrusted you with. Stay focused. Explosive Insights!
2 Kings 2:9-10 “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me. And Elijah said, What you have asked is a hard thing.”
It doesn’t matter what arena of life you want success in, there is a price to be paid. The price comes back to are you willing to do the hours, develop the knowledge, acquire the skills and practice delayed gratification. If your goal is to grow closer to God, then put in the hours of prayer, bible reading and worship. If your goal is to build wealth, get control of your spending, save diligently and invest wisely. If your goal is to be fit and healthy, develop more consistent sleep patterns, exercise daily and improve your nutrition. Anything worth achieving in life requires an investment on your part. If you’re dissatisfied with your current results, change your approach and make the commitment to become the best you can be with whatever resources and opportunities are currently in front of you. Success in anything is a hard thing but the reward is worth it. Pay the price now, so you can play later!
Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. I ran from Sydney to Melbourne and raised $160k for my local church in 2008. It was a monumental challenge and was not helped by my little toe on my left foot turning black and getting pancaked for 1,172km. It didn’t matter how fit I was, the tiniest thing became my biggest issue. The same principle applies in life. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference and if you don’t pay attention to them, they will take you out. The challenge is many of us think we can take shortcuts with the little things and get away with it, however, you ignore them at your own peril. What are the little foxes in your world stealing the fruitfulness from your vineyard of life, work and health? Identify them and catch them before they spoil your vineyard.
Matthew 6:6 And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Our culture conditions us to look for outward signs of success, whether that be money, possessions or achievement. But these things are only one measurement of what it might look like for you to be successful. What success might look like to one person could look different to someone else. That’s why we need to come to our own conclusions about it is we are actually aiming for in life. God gives us another definition of success and that is “obedience” to the call he has given us to fulfill. Obedience is not a popular concept in a world of free will and personal autonomy but it’s an eternal concept that bears upon our future reality when we die. Our current choices have consequences both in this life and the next. Whilst people may applaud our external accomplishments the true secret to success is found in what we do away from the eyes of the world around us. No champion boxer was made in the ring but in the gym. No superstar musician was made on the stage but in the studio. From Gods perspective, it’s what we do behind the scenes, where nobody can see us, that defines who we are and what we are rewarded with. Elevate your view of success and find purpose in a relationship with God. Ultimately, we receive what we achieve based on Gods grace and our willingness to do what’s required in the secret place, when nobody is looking.
Habakkuk 2:2 And the Lord answered me, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Some people don’t think of themselves as goal oriented but every person I’ve ever met and chatted to about their life has some sort of goal or desire for their lives lurking somewhere in their minds and hearts. One of the things I do daily is to look at and pray into my goals for my life. I’ve researched books and asked successful people what the best approach to goal setting is and basically, it all boils down to, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Too many goals become overwhelming to your mind and your schedule. Narrow your goals to no more than 10 and try to write and articulate those goals into the most concise and precise way possible. There should be no extra fluff in your wording. Make your goals concrete, defined and measurable. Then everyday I encourage you to read over your goals, declare them out loud and pray into them. If they are important to you, you should be thinking about them and asking God for help to fulfill them. As you repeat this process daily, your mind will be filled with strategies to help you accomplish your goals and you will find unusual favor come your way to help you fulfill those goals that are truly ordered by the Lord. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals, as you feel led to. You’re not a slave to your goals, they are meant to serve you and help you get to where God has called you to go. So, what are your goals?
Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. Many of us want to increase ‘much by much’ but for the majority of us, this isn’t the reality of how we grow. Most of us experience increase in life one increment at a time. It’s the day in and day out of pursuing the basics that brings ultimate increase and fruitfulness to our lives. Little by little may not be sexy but it works. As the old adage says, “you eat an elephant one bite at a time.” Break your big goals down into small steps and tackle them little by little. Whether it be a financial goal, like purchasing your first house or a fitness goal, like running a marathon, you have to begin with the end in mind and then work backwards, tackling your goal, little by little. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish by doing little by little, day in and day out. You will build momentum and what may seem slow at the start will eventually become an avalanche. Don’t be hasty and don’t be impatient. Focus your energy on building your life little by little!
Sometimes life can get very overwhelming and make you feel like progress is 1 step forward and 2 steps backward. Even at this early stage of 2016, you might already feel like your New Years resolutions and goals are already broken and too difficult to attain. However, before you give up and dismiss them in favor of the blur of day to day busyness, I encourage you to consider the truth that it’s ok to start again. You might have to start over and restart again after that several times before you get into the rhythm and habit you are wanting to make a difference to your life. Don’t overthink it and don’t make it more complex than what it needs to be. Just ask yourself this one question, “what is the one thing I could do or need to do that will help me to get started?” It could be to get up at 6am and get dressed. I was talking to a friend the other day who said, that one act of getting up and getting dressed straight away had a snowball effect on the rest of his day. Whatever your one thing is, get started and get moving. It’s ok to start again!