Day 7 – Plans, Hopes, and Dreams for 2021
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12, ESV).
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, ESV).
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1, ESV).
For the past week, we have discussed dreams and goals for the New Year. We have been reminded of how we should make no excuse and say “yes” to God—today! But until we put all of this into practice, moving from head knowledge to action, we will not make progress. As we read in God’s Word, our faith is like a race of endurance.
How many goals have you made in life only to become distracted by less important things? For me, that has happened more times than I care to recall. Not recognizing his voice, I’ve allowed the whisper of Satan to persuade me to wait—to believe a future time would come when I would finally be “all in.” My racetrack was full of detours as I allowed my attention to wander from the finish line. Some were legitimate responsibilities but they stood in the way of my spiritual progress; if I wasn’t growing in Christ, they were not where my primary focus should have been.
As I have matured in faith, I have become more and more aware of this truth: when my eyes are fastened on Jesus, all areas of my life will benefit. Staying in the race is where it’s at! I’ve faltered along the journey, and those seasons were my very worst—seasons I reflect on with remorse and regret. But today, God has given me the opportunity, when I fix my gaze on the prize, to be sincere and take steps forward in obedience. He beckons me forward, promising me His strength and help to see me through. On the fringes, Satan will be there, trying desperately to lure me his way. I think it’s imperative to remain alert to him and use discernment as we identify the voices we hear along our journey.
The year stretches before you, brothers and sisters. We have no idea when we will reach our finish line, but our aim should be to finish well. Our eternal reward hinges on how we ran our race—is it worth throwing away eternal reward for momentary pleasure? May God give us help to have spiritual wisdom, refusing to allow distractions of this world to shortchange us when we stand before our Heavenly Father. What is Satan tempting you with today, to pull you off course? What weaknesses do you battle each day? Identifying them and arming yourself against them will help you stay focused on the race before you. Do not underestimate Satan’s determination to ruin your race.
As we face the coming year, let’s remember it’s all a part of our spiritual race. Paul reminds us that we need endurance to see us through to the finish. Don’t quit—arm ourselves against detours and stay focused on the finish line. Whether the finish line is a day ahead or decades ahead, none of us is here for long. In light of eternity, one hundred years is a drop in the bucket. We have only our lifetime, whether short or long, to press on. Remove distractions and push forward. Any sacrifice on our part will be well worth it to hear Him say, “Well done!” As we head toward the finish, may we know we ran our best; may we know we stuck it out, no matter how tired or weary we may be. Because one day, sooner than we think, we really will be standing face to face with our Savior. We will give an account of our race, acknowledging disappointment for the shallow things we allowed to distract us. But today, we can get back on track. May the Lord give us focus and clarity as we determine to finish our race—a race that will bring glory to God!