Thursday, November 17, 2011

One Goal At A Time

“If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” ~James 1:5-8 (NRSV).

We are perhaps of a mind to change.

To do so—to get such efforts off the ground—requires more will and stamina than we can conceive this side of kick-off. But from the outset we are determined. We will still need help.

By the power of the Holy Spirit we have the capacity to change anything; but wisdom brings with it a caution not to be overly ambitious, for diluting the efforts may weaken the mix containing our resolution. Then we are destitute because our wisdom and faith have failed us.

Best we plan better.

Singularity of Direction

James’ passage, above, commends single-mindedness as a worthy approach in seeking out wisdom: the sacred binary sponsoring change.

Anything that is perceptible can be transformed by the wisdom of insight, design, and renewal. God limits nothing that we would reasonably have control over. He gives us the entire world—our world; that which we control by the manner of our being.

But there is, nonetheless, a caveat.

Human beings have a capacity, and wisdom suggests we bind our plans around such a capacity. We are not always wise, however. At times we take on too much. Regarding goal-setting, we are apt at spreading our power, given to us by the Holy Spirit, too thinly.

We get greedy and pride precedes a fall.

Another way of looking at this is a focus too thinly spread is liable to doubting and double-mindedness, and nothing will be achieved at those ends. We might start strong but soon we wither. Little wonder we haven’t achieved many important goals. We focused as hard as we could, but we spread our power too thinly. Such power was too dilute to make the difference required.

Clarity of Purpose

The biggest test of our improvement efforts is patience; to be content with changing one thing at a time.

If we can manage one such goal each year—to drink more water, to give up smoking, to lose twenty pounds, or realise an important milestone toward career goals—we will achieve more of a boost to our confidence than by trying to change three things and failing at each one.

If, at the start of each year, we are to dedicate that 12-months to one change we will significantly improve the prospects of achieving our goals in a lasting way. Such clarity of purpose blends with the power of the Holy Spirit, augmenting gain. These gains are not lost easily. They become part of the way we become.

The purpose of achieving one goal at a time makes for a single-minded, determined approach; such clarity of purpose ensures our prayers are blessed by God, who gives generously and ungrudgingly. Nothing within our grasp will be beyond us.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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