Many wise men have said, in one form or the other, that a goal not written down is merely a fantasy. I have proved this out in my own life. As followers of Jesus, our ultimate goal is to live a life that looks like His. We know this to be true at our core, and we express this fact to others. Have you ever taken the time to write down this goal? As long as it is just something we want to do or achieve, and as long as it remains only in our mind, the chances of obtaining the goal are almost zero. When we don’t write our goals down, they become elusive and our attempts at accomplishment are haphazard and scattered. Once we commit our goals to paper, they become more tangible and we can begin to develop plans to bring them to fruition.
The achievement of any goal essentially boils down to what we are willing to begin doing, what we are willing to stop doing, and how much self-discipline we are willing to bring to bear to achieve the desired outcome. Desiring to live a life that looks like Jesus has one distinct advantage over any other goal you may set out to achieve. That advantage is Jesus Himself. He loves you beyond measure and desires you to know Him more deeply than you already do. He excitedly waits to help you discover more of Him and to live in a manner that reflects His glory. Instead of disciplining ourselves out of duty, we discipline ourselves out of love. This makes working towards this goal far more pleasant than most others. Every step closer to Jesus improves the rest of our life exponentially. We may not gain financially as a result of our pursuit, but we will gain incredible joy and peace. Achieving the goal is rewarding, but the person you must become to achieve it is far more rewarding still.
Once you have determined to go all in and pursue Jesus at any cost – and you’ve written it down – you must then write out your “why”. Why is it that you want to live a life that looks like Jesus? Why is it that you want to give up everything to follow Him? What is your motivation? Following Jesus is hard, and you will face many times of discouragement. These are the times when many will turn back and make the tragic decision that it simply isn’t worth it. When you face trials, refer back to your “why” to discover again the reasons you have to push through the storm and emerge strengthened on the other side. Having clearly defined reasons for wanting to follow Jesus will help you keep everything in proper perspective and enable you to stand fast against the attacks of the enemy.
You have established your goal and determined your reasons; now it is time to plan. Write down what a true follower of Jesus looks like. How do they act? What sort of things do they say? Where do they hang out? With whom do they associate? Develop a clear mental image of what a true follower of Jesus looks like, and write it down. Be as detailed as possible. How do they spend their days? How do they interact with their family? Now take a look at your own life; how do you measure up? By looking at the description of the person you want to become, you should be able to see several areas where your own life needs to change. Work on one area at a time. Determine to change your life in that one area so that your own life begins to align with your description of the true follower of Jesus. What actions can you take today to start looking like that ideal picture? How will your life change over the next week and month to look more like that of a true follower of Jesus? Once you have established one area of your life to be more consistent with Christ, move on to the next. Always write down what needs to change and how you will accomplish this. Review these mini-goals daily, before going to sleep at night and when you awaken each morning.
The chances are good that if you are reading this blog you have a strong desire to follow Jesus with a reckless abandonment. It’s exciting and invigorating to know there are others out there who share the same passion. The difference between those who obtain this life and those who just wish they could, is simply a matter of focused discipline. Writing down what you want to achieve has a mysterious power to help you accomplish your goals; this mysterious power is called focus. Once you are focused you can move forward. Without focus, you will wander aimlessly, forever taking two steps forward and one step back. It’s time to move past wishful thinking and fantasy. It’s time to devote ourselves to the One who gave everything for us. Jesus was intentional and focused as He lived His life for us; now it’s our turn. Write down what you want to do; describe who you must become to do it. Then persist without exception, relying on God’s power to accomplish in you all He intends to do.