I love setting goals and then trying to achieve them. I have a little chip on my tennis shoe that tracks how far I've run, my pace, and other fun stats. After each walk or run, I plug the device into my computer and upload the data to a website. On the site I have goals like “I want to walk 15 times this month” or “I want to walk 30 miles this month.” Each day when I upload my data the little graph moves closer to completion. Then when I complete a goal I get a medal! It's so great!! In the next day or two I will achieve a couple of goals and thus have a few more virtual medals! Whenever I achieve a medal I feel great about myself and my workout habits.
In addition to my personal goals, I also have community challenges! The community challenges are runners from around the world that are all trying to achieve the same goal! One of my challenges is to run around the world! Yep, and as of this morning there are 5856 other people trying to do the same thing! Currently I have run 132 of the 24,902 miles to make it around the Earth. That means I only have 24,770 miles to go! ha!
Honestly, I am not very good at long-term goals…I usually set short-term goals that I can achieve quickly and feel that self-gratification high that accompanies the accomplishment. But today, as I looked at this VERY long-term goal, I thought about how this goal is more like my walk with Jesus than all the short-term goals I set.
Over the past five years I have really been learning to change my perspective on my walk with the Lord. For so long, even though I knew Ephesians 2:8-9 said that it wasn't by works that I am saved, I lived as though it was by works that I was loved. Recently, I have realized that God doesn't love me more because I can make check marks on my short-term goals, like attending Bible study, going to church or doing my daily Bible reading. Rather He wants to refine me into a woman of God whose participates in these activities not to cross them off a list, but rather to become the woman of God that He created me to be. He won't love me more or less if I do or don't accomplish them, but I will look more like Him IF when I do these activities, my goal is to look more like Jesus in the end.
When I think about running 24,770 more miles, I am overwhelmed and think there is no way I'll ever meet that goal. Sometimes I feel the same way about my walk with Jesus. As Jesus wraps up chapter 5 of Matthew He says, “Be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect.” He also says in the Sermon on the Mount that my righteousness should, “EXCEED that of the Scribes and Pharisees.” (emphasis added) These standards to me seem impossible. They are goals that I'd like to achieve but I don't actually think I can ever attain. But just like all the small goals that I set for running will help me achieve the long-term goal of running nearly 25,000 miles, Jesus gives us baby steps to take as He preaches the Sermon on the Mount that can help us achieve these standards that He set for us.
Grab your Bible and read thru Matthew chapter 5, what is one area that you can begin to ask God to work on in your heart that is mentioned in this chapter? As God works on that area, then He can begin to refine other areas and as we continually lay down our lives and let God refine us little by little, in the end, we can achieve through HIM ALONE, the righteousness that Jesus demands of us.
Be encouraged that you are not alone, just as I have over 5,000 other crazy people aiming to run around the world, you have a community here on Earth of others who love Jesus and who are also pursuing a deeper walk with Him. And you have the Holy Spirit within you to give you strength as you pursue Christ each day! Keep running your race!