We all want to achieve success, but very few are willing to pay the price. We want success to fall into our laps, but unless we are born into wealth, we will have to attain it the hard way. One of the keys to success is pursuing our goal relentlessly. We can learn a lot from Paul, who, at the end of his life, could proudly declare, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
How did Paul do it? Without a doubt, his absolute trust in Christ and total dependence on him were significant contributing factors, but he used some principles that we could apply in our quest for success. Although I hope our goals are spiritual, God wants to bless our sojourn here on earth too, so these principles will work even in the world.
One, Paul discerned what hindered and distracted him, including things he cherished, and he let go of them all. He became like a race car, stripped of everything but the essentials needed for the race.
Two, Paul discovered what he wanted and made it his only goal. We often have too many things we want to achieve, but like dear old Jack, we end up learning many things and mastering nothing.
Three, Paul determined how to achieve his goal and pursued it with relentless determination. He trained with a professional runner’s zeal, even comparing himself to one on many occasions.
Paul made mistakes along the way, which is quite normal; the only people who don’t make mistakes are those who don’t do anything! Paul’s philosophy when he messed up was straightforward: Forget what’s happened; it’s over. Look forward and let’s get on with things!
The wilderness is an excellent preparation ground. It is not just a place you find yourself when you are in trouble; it is also a place you go to when you want to be alone with God. Jesus used to spend time in the wilderness constantly! Being in the wilderness helps us discern what is unnecessary and get rid of it. It also enables us to discover what we want and plan how to achieve it. Then, when we are out of the wilderness, we work toward achieving our goal, just like Jesus did.
I wish you well in your quest, dear friend. Make our Father proud, although remember that he is proud of you even without you doing a thing!
[See 2 Timothy 4:7 ; Philippians 3:7-14; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Matthew 4; Matthew 2:16-17]