Colossians 3:1-4 – Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (NIV)
It all began with a mental pep talk. I can do this, I thought, just one board at a time. Our deck is quite large and was desperately in need of staining. The job was mine to accomplish.
The heat was rising. Practically minded, I decided to set a goal for myself. I would just get the ramp and the gate finished today.
I was amazed at how quickly I was done, so I chose to do a little more, and then just a little more. Before I realized it, half the deck was stained and looking quite transformed.
This scenario repeated itself the next day, and, by that evening, what had at first seemed like a humongous and intimidating task was not only completed but well done.
Setting realistic and manageable goals spiritually encourages me as well, in my daily walk with Christ. When I first became a Christian, I felt overwhelmed and intimidated as I viewed more mature Christians and the fruit of the Spirit so active in their lives. In fact, I even found myself struggling with depression, feeling that I could never be that kind of a person. I wondered if I should simply quit before going any further.
My pastor, however, wise man that he was, gently helped me through this dilemma by explaining to me about setting spiritual goals, such as taking ten minutes a day to read a devotional guide and pray. Once this became a habit, he encouraged me to continue to expand my reading and prayer life bit by bit. He explained that, by so doing, I would be placing myself in a position where God's Holy Spirit could speak into my life more and more. And the more access the Spirit had, the more He would be able to transform and renew me, enabling me, bit by bit, one day to reach my goal of becoming the kind of person that I want to be and that God intends me to be!
The apostle Paul said, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14 NIV)
The prize for me, in regard to re-staining my deck, was the satisfaction, contentment, and quiet pride I felt when, bit by bit, I saw my goal realized.
Our prize as Christians at the end of our spiritual journey, however, will be so much greater. It will be the crown of life in Christ Jesus, a prize that shall not fade nor wear away throughout eternity.
I think it's worth pressing on toward such a goal bit by bit. Don't you?
Prayer: Lord God, help us this day to make and take the time to continue to press on towards a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through the spiritual disciplines of study and prayer. May we be encouraged bit by bit as You honour this desire to know and love You more and more, by blessing us with the presence and transforming power of Your Spirit in our lives. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.