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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Goal-Directed Obedience

You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You can’t see him now, but you believe in him. You are filled with a wonderful and heavenly joy that cannot be explained. Your faith has a goal, and you are reaching that goal—your salvation. (I Peter 1:8-9 ERV)

By definition, a goal is something that is realized because you move toward it - you aim at it and hit it. It becomes your purpose and it is the basis of all the steps you take toward achieving it. Sometimes we confuse goals with intentions. What is the difference? I think intentions aren't always what we hit because they aren't always all that realistic. I intended to do so much on my three day weekend a couple of week's ago, but I only got about a third of what I intended accomplished. It wasn't that I didn't have a whole lot of good intent, it was that I lacked the energy to accomplish what I was aiming at. It is a good thing that our salvation isn't based on what it is we have the energy to accomplish!

The fact that our salvation is not accomplished by our own actions doesn't mean that we don't aim at a target with the intention of hitting it. Plainly stated, this is exactly what obedience is - aiming at the target and then hitting it. It is posturing so as to hit the target. It is focusing so as to be on-center. It is exerting the disciplined stance so as to limit variation in the direction we will travel on the way to hitting that target! Our faith isn't just a blind expression of hope - it is actionable steps toward the goal! Obedience is faith in action - it is taking what we believe and walking it out in our day-to-day practices.

Hard as it may be for us to accept sometimes, having a target in mind makes the difference between drifting aimlessly and having a purpose in life. Don't underestimate the power of purpose - it points us down the path we are going to follow. It is way more than religious activity - it is a purpose-driven life. We don't accomplish our own salvation, but we take steps to honor God's gift of grace in our lives by being obedient to the things he requires of us. When we recognize we have been given the tools to live obediently, we might just find the choices we make "toward" obedience are a little easier to take. Just sayin!