It’s that time of the year where we are all trying to become a better person, for some its health, others it’s time management, and for those of us who identify as Christians, we want to become better at it. In fact, the ultimate goal for me is to live a life that will make Christ proud of me but for you it may just be getting over the havoc that depression can cause in our lives, nonetheless, we all have deeply personal goals that we want to achieve. Life has taught me many things about accomplishing (and not) goals and from tons of reading, living, and reflecting, I have narrowed down a basic formula for achieving them whether they are professional or personal growth goals….For those of my readers that aren’t religious, humor me and follow me through some suggestions from the Apostle Paul about Christian living that can be applied to life from a non-religious point of view as well. These simple instructions make up my goal achieving formula.
From a general perspective, Paul is telling us that when we establish goals we should align them with what we are trying to accomplish and not base them on what we are, aren’t, did, or didn’t do in the past. As Christians, sometimes we allow our past to hold us in a box and trick us into thinking that we can’t grow spiritually because of all the sin we hold and as basic humans we are always trying to compare our past to what we should achieve in the present (I used to weigh that, so that means I need to weigh that now) But no matter the perspective we only have to learn from our past, we don’t have to use them to set new goals or define how well we can achieve them.
You don’t have to be spiritually mature to know that if you align a reasonable goal with trustworthy information, any time you revisit the goal you will plainly see why you’re going after it. I call this piece of the formula “trust” and for me, it doesn’t get anymore trustworthy than God but for you, it may be trusting the nutritionist with a diet plan to help you overcome an illness or trusting that if you change your work habits you will get a better performance review. No matter what you should trust your reasonable, well informed, good intentioned goal.
Your new goal is a standard that you can actively pursue and learn from and every time you encounter more truth to your trustworthy information you have to live up to that.
As Christians, we have a blueprint known as the Bible but we also have discernment and whenever God uses one of those to reveal something to us we have the responsibility to fine-tune our standards. That’s no different from a general perspective; if you find that running four times a week is making your knees ache that doesn’t mean abort the goal to be more active, it means changing something about your workout plan. Even in adversity goals need action not desertion.
In this verse, Paul is asking those who are Christians to pay attention to the people that are actually trying to abide by the standards that have been deemed good for Christian living versus those who preach but don’t care to live out those standards. Whether the goal is living a better Christian life or overcoming depression, you have to follow through with your changes by surrounding yourself with appropriate relationships. Fire feeds fire and if you want to feed your new habits, it’s best you surround yourself with like-minded people.
These beautifully grouped words are the results that I long for when I think about my life’s journey. I love that all my goals rooted in loving more efficiently, cultivating better friendships, changing my habits, and trusting more thoroughly all result with me becoming more like Christ. This isn’t any different than what I want when I make a goal that will make me healthier or a better citizen of the world. I want to see a result whether mild or drastic and Paul tells us that if we pursue our goals with these conditions we will see the results…for some of us the ultimate result.
So what’s the formula you ask? It’s simple.
Reasonable Goals (Trust + Action + Relationships) = Results
So what goal are you working on right now and how can apply this formula to it?
**Scriptures were taken from the ESV, CSB, and/or NLT to provide the plainest translation of each scripture