What are you trying to accomplish with your life?
More specifically, what are you hoping to accomplish today? This week?
The apostle Paul wrote the following to the Ephesians:
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
(Eph. 5:15-16 NIV)
The NKJV translates verse 16 as "redeeming the time, because the days are evil," which is a more accurate wording of the original Greek.
GOD gives us breath. He gives us time.
In these verses, Paul is teaching the first century Ephesian Christians to think about how theylived and to exchange the time GOD was giving them for something of value.
People get in the most trouble because we fail to think.
For most of us, life is very busy.
GOD wants us to be busy (working—that way we don't turn into busy-bodies).
This is not to say we don't need time for rest.
GOD set aside Sabbaths for the purpose of rest for His people in the Old Testament. He knows rest is important to us as well.
But what are you working toward?
What is the end goal that you have for yourself?
The pace at which we scurry from activity to activity can keep us focused very nearsightedly upon the present.
As Christians, we're called to maintain a farsighted vision and plan our steps so that we end up where we want to be.
For example, if my long-term goal is to be like Jesus, then I need to be taking baby steps to get there, such as reading my Bible regularly, praying throughout the day, and making changes in my behavior and thinking in order to practice what I am reading and learning.
I can say that I want to be like Jesus, but if I routinely fail to plan how I'll reach my goal, or to take actions that shows I'm serious about obtaining my goal, then I'm just wishing and fooling myself. I'm failing to "redeem the time" that I've been given.
How we spend our time shows a lot about our priorities.
And there is a healthy balance to be found between being obsessed with planning and never planning.
Zig Ziglar famously said, "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time."
Zig is absolutely right.
I find myself frequently saying, "Life is too short for/to..."
GOD has already said the same thing.
Our lives on earth are but for a moment.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
(Psalm 90:10 NIV)
What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
(Jam. 4:14b NIV)
If we know this to be true, then we should be living each day with intense purpose, taking advantage of each opportunity that GOD gives us.
I believe that a great way to determine what you want to accomplish with your life is to ask yourself:
"If my life were ended this instant...
- What regrets would I have?
- What would I wish I had been able to accomplish?
- Whose lives would I wish I had a greater impact upon?
- What things would I wish I had said that are currently unsaid?"
Our flesh tries to convince us that life is all about pleasure, enjoying and living for the moment, because, after all, life is short.
But we must see with spiritual eyes that life is a battlefield and we need to approach it strategically.
Live every day intentionally.
Don't allow life to constantly happen to you.
Instead, be a force. Initiate. Happen to things/people.
Be like Jesus.
37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
(Acts 10:37-38 NIV)
What are you doing to live intentionally?