Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Firing First and Painting Later

A Call for Sharpshooters in 2005

You might not realize it, but there are two approaches to expert marksmanship. The first is to train the crosshairs on the exact center of the target, take a deep breath, exhale about halfway and hold it, and slowly squeeze the shot off, holding your aim steady on the bull’s-eye the entire time. The second approach is to forget all that disciplined skill and just shoot the rifle. Then, you just go paint a target around the spot where the slug leaves a hole. Pretty simple, huh?

Wait a second… You don’t believe me? You don't think that second approach would be accepted as “expert marksmanship”?! Well, you’re right. That’s not how sharpshooters are made—by firing first and painting later.

But sometimes that’s how we live our lives, isn’t it? We don’t really aim for much; we just do what comes naturally and then see where we end up. How strange! And how unbiblical!

Ever notice how many people in the Bible purposed to live a certain way or aim for a specific goal? “Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank.” (Dan 1:8). “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1) Even Paul himself: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). These people are sharpshooters! They have an intended target, and they are aiming directly at it.

So here we are, on the brink of a brand new year. Hmmm… I wonder where we’ll be when the holidays roll around again. Will we be more faithful in our devotions? Will we have talked to anyone about Jesus? Will we know God better through prayer and meditation on His word? Will we have given Him our best every day, or will we give only enough to get by?

Here’s what I’d like to suggest… Take the next couple days and evaluate your life—spiritually, socially, educationally, etc. Pray a lot. Think hard. Then write down a few specific “targets” you’re going to aim at during this new year.

After you write down your goals, do one more thing. Read over and pray about them at least weekly. In reviewing them this often, we’ll be following the great example of Jonathan Edwards, who used to read his list of personal resolutions weekly, too (a list that grew to 70 goals by the time he finished!).

Let’s aim for something significant this year, OK? No more firing first and painting later!


Anonymous said...

hey josh, I've been reading your blog ever since Aundrea sent us the christmas card. I'm so excited that I can still hear your great insights without you living here anymore! We all miss you a lot but are so glad that things are going so well for ya'll... give all your boys a hug from us.
Much love~
Devin D. from shelbyville Ky

eric said...

hey PJ,

there's a chance (a pretty good chance) that I'll be switching schools the middle of this year. i can't remember if i told you that or not, so i thought i would now. also, i sent you an email saying this but i'll say it here too-i made a blog site. check it out when you get the chance. thanks. ttyl.