Stop looking at the obstacle

Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal. 
(E. Joseph Cossman)

The goal - what is it you have laid out before you as today's goal? Maybe you are a bigger thinker and have even set out goals for the month and year, or even a five or ten year plan. I am not that big in my thinking and really don't set very long-range goals other than saving well so I will some day be able to retire. In my retirement, I want to do a fair amount of fishing in the streams and lakes around the state. I guess that is a longer range goal. Most of us set some goals, even very small ones, because we have come to realize without goals there is no aim. The problem is that some of our goals are kind of 'out there' - they aren't always easily recognized. They will require consistency, hard work, and even a little bit more than a smidgen of faith. My BFF and I have a goal of starting a small business from our homes that allows us to stay busy into retirement, but also gives us a source of creative release. In turn, we hope it generates us a little extra revenue for those fishing trips! Will there be obstacles - you bet! Will we get distracted by the obstacles on occasion - likely so! Will we refocus - definitely yes! Why? The goal is a good one and it is important to us. We want to pursue things that will utilize our talents and keep us occupied, but enjoying our retirement. It is always good to have goals, but it is never good to let the obstacles keep us from realizing those goals.

I do not say that I have received this or have already become perfect. But I keep going on to make that life my own as Christ Jesus made me His own. No, Christian brothers, I do not have that life yet. But I do one thing. I forget everything that is behind me and look forward to that which is ahead of me. My eyes are on the crown. I want to win the race and get the crown of God’s call from heaven through Christ Jesus. All of us who are full-grown Christians should think this way. If you do not think this way, God will show it to you. So let us keep on obeying the same truth we have already been following. (Philippians 3:12-16)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - three friends of Daniel - do you think they woke up one morning planning to end up in the furnace, fire lapping at their heels? I daresay they probably didn't imagine their devotion to the one true God was going to end in a fiery death! Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the land of the time and he had a pretty good-sized ego. He commissioned a huge golden statue, said to be fifteen times the height of a man, as an object of worship - an idol. He then demanded everyone bow down to worship this idol - at a particular time of the day when the horns sounded. These three, along with Daniel, refused to bow the knee to any other god - they served the one true God. Their devotion would cost them something - their lives. The king was less than pleased at their refusal, so he threw them into the fire to burn alive. His fury over their refusal was palpable - but I believe the fullness of their faith was equally as palpable!

Do you know that they were bound up in their coats, thrown into the fire by the king's soldiers, and while the soldiers were putting them into the furnace, the soldiers were burnt up? In short order, these men could have recanted their faith - agreeing to bow down to the golden god. Yet, they remained steadfast in their commitment to honor the Lord of Lords and King of Kings alone. Within in minutes, it is reported to the king that the soldiers had died, but the 'bound men' were walking in the furnace free of their bonds and there was a fourth now walking with them! At that moment, the king realizes they have been set free by the Most High God - not the golden idol he had erected, but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He commands their instant release and brings them to him. Why? To acknowledge their faith and to command that anyone who shows disrespect to their God be punished. 

It may not seem like much, but these three men didn't waver in their faith. They didn't choose the easy way out. They didn't focus on the 'obstacle' in their path - they kept their focus on the one true God. Too many times we allow obstacles to change our path. Instead of changing your path - change your focus. Get your eyes off the obstacle and back on Jesus. If you want to see the fulfillment of a goal, then focus on the goal. If you want Jesus to be the thing others see when they look into your life - then focus on him! Just sayin!


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