“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 3:14 (ESV)
As coaches, we go into every season with goals. There’s always a prize we’re chasing. It could be a state championship or maybe just to win more games than we did last season. Regardless of the goals, we know it will take hard work and relentless pursuit to achieve them. During the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, American sharpshooter Matt Emmons had all but won the gold medal. He was far ahead of his competition in the 50-meter rifle competition and only a disaster could keep him from the greatest victory of his life. He looked through the scope, squeezed the trigger and watched as his round hit the bulls-eye. Olympic gold. But wait! What were the judges talking about? It was then Emmons realized the unimaginable. He had fired at the wrong target! The mistake caused Emmons to fall from first place to eighth place and out of the running for a medal. Emmons’ tragic error reminds us that while we should have a target to aim for in life, it must be the right one.
The Apostle Paul knew the importance of having lofty goals. Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians while handcuffed to a guard in a dark and filthy prison. Even in the worst of circumstances, Paul kept his faith and continued to pursue heavenly goals. Regardless of Paul’s suffering, he longed for Jesus Christ. This gave him the hope and motivation to keep pressing on. As God’s people, it’s important to set goals that are consistent with God’s will for our lives and then press on in the direction of those goals. Turning our life over to God and living a life that is pleasing to Him should be our primary goal. Paul had it tough. Things didn’t always go his way. As Christ followers, we too will face our share of hardship. However, God gave Paul His strength when he didn’t have enough of his own. He can and will do the same for you.
Heavenly Father, help me to keep my eyes on the right targets today. Give me Your strength as I handle the tough times when they come. Keep me in Your perfect will. In Jesus name, Amen.