We are all caught in a threshing machine from which we can’t get free. Time. It mangles, chews and pulverizes. None of us is immune or free from its entanglement and degradation. Right?
Our bodies for sure. But what about you? Do you have to degrade? Can you grow and improve over time? Do you have that choice?
The choice is the easy part. Anyone can make a choice and everyone does (even when they choose to think they don’t). The real questions are…
1) What is the right choice?
2) How do I follow through on that choice?
Let’s get some clarity on this.
What’s important is not choice itself, but the GOAL we choose to attain, because no amount of follow-through can offset the devastation of time on the wrong goal. Most of us desire to “grow and improve over time”, but that by itself as a goal is not specific enough.
“OK! I got it!” You blurt with excitement. “The primary goal should be ‘First Know Thyself!’”
That sure sounds right, and it is specific, but it can’t achieve its objective. I know, I know, it’s the Holy Grail of popular psychology, but it doesn’t work. It misses the mark. It’s impossible to know yourself if that is your primary focus, because knowing yourself is a byproduct of another, more fundamental goal: knowing God. This is why “First Know Thyself” is bad advice. If you want to know yourself you must First Know God! In other words…
To understand who I am, I need to understand The Great I Am!
That is the ONLY goal you’ll ever need. Every other goal is a derivative of this one, including personal growth and improvement over time, knowing who you are and for what specific purpose you were designed.
God is the source of space, time, and matter -and everything contained therein. Including you. So when Peter says in 1Peter3:15 “Always be prepared to Give an Answer” he knows the answers always come from God. He also knows it’s always a continuous, ongoing, moment by moment, never ending, persistent process of study and preparation because we are finite and God is infinite. We will never know everything about God!
Once chosen, how do we successfully follow through on this goal?
The Persistent Faith of a Canaanite Woman Mathew 15: 21-28 21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow Luke 18:1-8: 1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Ask, Seek and Knock Matthew 7:7-11 7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!