Matt Emmons, Olympic gold medalist in rifle shooting in 2004, was set to win another event at Athens. He had a commanding lead and hoped to make a direct bull’s-eye on his last shot. But something went wrong—he hit the target, but he was aiming at the wrong one! That wrong focus dropped him to eighth place and cost him his medal. It is not enough to be the best marksman; we must aim at the right target. To be the very best at something in this world has very little value if we don’t know Christ.
Philippians 3:7-14, But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 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, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul expressed here the importance of focusing on the right target in our Christian life. Philippians 3:13-14, 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, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The writer of Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us, Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
What is the goal Paul is speaking about?
The goal: the life in God…that Christ has already paid for…the manifestation of His mind and Spirit through me. 2 Timothy 2:1-7, You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. First, it is important to find and get good teaching. Second, the prospect of winning depends on being focused (aiming at the right target). For the believer… that focus should be a lifetime pursuit of becoming more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
As we make Christ our target, He will reveal our role within His Kingdom. Have you discovered your role?
Acts 7:9-10, “And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.”
But God was with him. God was with Joseph and he had a gift, a gift that would shape his life and also the life of Israel. God give him dreams. Now that may not sound very impressive. But, subsequent events in Joseph’s life would reveal that this gift, this dreaming which apparently included an ability to interpret dreams, saved his own life and the lives of his family. And God has given you something (a gift), God made you different. For us to discover or affirm the gift that God has given us is a way of glorifying our Creator. When God made you He threw away the mold. You are special!
Romans 8:28-29, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
If you are within the sound of my voice—or reading this online, I tell you now, you were not born to be bad. You were born to be like Him, created in His image. Damaged, deformed, disfigured by sin, but Christ has made us new, has put away our handicap, healed us and made us whole.
What is your focus today? Are you preoccupied with getting ahead and making life more comfortable? If you’re a believer, the right target to shoot for, is to become more like the Son of God. 2 Corinthians 3:18, But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. Today make sure you are aiming at the right target!!
To make the most of our lives we must make God’s goals—our goals, God’s Word—our words.
Galatians 5:22-23a, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control…
LET’S BEAR FRUIT…THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT!!!
Thomas Chisholm was a Methodist minister who wrote over 1200 poems. One, put to music, has these lyrics:
I have one deep, supreme desire,
that I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire,
that I may be like Jesus.
I want my heart His throne to be,
so that a watching world may see
His likeness shining forth in me.
I want to be like Jesus.