“Keep your eyes on the goal” is pretty good advice that most of us have heard or have been given at one time or another. Keeping a goal or an objective in mind allows us to focus our actions towards its accomplishment. We know what we want to do and despite whatever distractions there may be, being focused provides the encouragement to stay the course.
I believe this was the attitude taken by the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the Philippians, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you” (3:13-15, KJV). Eugene Peterson captures the essence of this in his paraphrase, “Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision–you’ll see it yet!” (The Message).
“So let us keep focused” – what beautiful words! Every one of us has a story; things that have happened in our past, or even earlier today, that could throw us off course. Some of us may have been blown off course by the winds of adversity, but Paul encourages us to forget “those things which are behind.” It could be that in order to do so we need to spend some time confessing our hurts to Christ and claiming His healing in the deep places of our emotions where we are still affected. If that is the case, today is a good time to do that because we need to clear those obstacles in order to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Like a world-class athlete running towards the prize, we are to run the most important “race” of our lives unencumbered by worries and cares. In this life we will have them, but thank God we have a Saviour who not only cares for us but bids us to cast all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). We can forget those things which are behind.
It helps to remember that our lives will go in the direction in which we are focused. To lack focus is to wander aimlessly. With that in mind, where is your focus? Can you say like David, “I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8)? If you’re not there yet, today is a good time to change course. God is faithful, and He stands ready to help those who ask it of Him.