I remember playing golf with a friend and, as was my habit, being vocally none too pleased with my shots. After complaining in very descriptive, short, and colorful language about how my shots went towards every conceivable part of the course except the green, my friend gently told me “well, maybe you should aim for the green.” I was, understandably, none to pleased with this apparent wise crack. My friend, however, calmly explained that while I might be aiming for the green in my mind, my body was aiming elsewhere. If I wanted to hit my preferred target then I needed to properly aim my legs, arms, and feet. Once I started aiming my entire body at the green, my shots were substantially more on target.
Over the next five weeks, I want us to think about what it means to have Christian character. First, I think its important to consider whether we are actually aiming for the right target, a life of Christian character, in our lives. Are our hearts, souls, minds, and actions aimed at hitting the target God desires us to hit? Do we even know what that target is?
Few scriptures so clearly lay out the target for a life of Christian character like Galatians chapter 5. Paul starts by laying out many of the ways we get off target in life: The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
When we aim at the target of worldly success, those are likely to be many of the targets hit. The reality is that we are far too often aiming at worldly targets. We get so focused on achieving happiness, financial success, athletic prowess, impressing others, having the right job, etc. that we aim at the wrong targets, experiencing less than ideal results (similar to my errant golf shots). What should we be aiming at? Following God’s Word and God’s Spirit. Our daily target should be following the God who made us, saved us, and dwells within us. Paul similarly shows us what such a life should look like: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25
What are you aiming at in your life, and what is the result? Are you aiming at, and hitting the wrong targets? I challenge all of us this week to make following God the chief target for our life. Let’s start aiming at hitting each of the Fruits of the Spirit every day.