There’s a common thought in goal setting to “begin with the end in mind.” In other words, determine where you want to end up so you know which direction to start heading toward now.
I don’t disagree with this thinking, but there’s an inherent problem. What if we don’t know where we want to end up? Or, what if we do know, but really don’t have the willpower to get there? Every new year we can expect to hear the same joke in many forms about how long our new resolutions will last. And yet, every year we set the same goals, and every year, well…
Gyms know and love this about us. They know we will show up with renewed passion, pay our fee, and join their club. Yet, by February there will be plenty of open machines at the gym for them to bring in new people. Wash, rinse, repeat.
But what if “the end” is already settled? And what if getting to this “end” does not require our diligence and power, but the diligence and power of someone else doing it for us?
If this is how physical exercised worked, then getting into shape would be as simple as finding the right person to do it for us. We’d take a trip down to the gym, find the most fit person in the room – someone who clearly is “doing it right” – and let them do it for us. That would be awesome!
Sadly, the physical world doesn’t work this way – if we want to be in good physical shape it will take effort, focus, and persistence (no matter what that late night infomercial tells us).
The Good News for today, is that the spiritual realm, thankfully, does not work this way. Yes, many religious beliefs do require our effort. Every world religion points to something we must do and HOPE god or the gods give us favor and accept our effort. It’s all about our attempt to get to or please a god or gods. That’s exhausting and we will find no rest in that.
So why did I say this was Good News? Well, there is one who said something different, something completely counter-cultural to every religion. Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
So, if having an “end in mind” that fits well, isn’t burdensome, and teaches us how to live light and free sounds attractive – then I think you will enjoy getting to know my friend Jesus this year.
One important note – Jesus doesn’t promise we will have health and wealth. In fact, He said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 NLT
So, we can expect difficult times in our experiences here on earth, but Jesus brings a peace that is nearly inexplicable but is incredible to experience. And this peace brings us a life that is “free and light” even in the middle of our toughest times.
Now that’s Good News!
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