I know I said I wouldn’t do another podcast before 2021, but I got back from vacation and decided to do an end of the year episode about goal setting because there are thousands of year-end episodes about goal setting in the new year. So what’s one more? Well, I want this one to be different. I’m not against goal setting. I have goals. I have goals for myself; I have goals for my family, and I have goals for my writing and this podcast. We can’t see the future, and God doesn’t reveal everything to us all at once. So these types of goals will change as we grow closer to Christ.
What I want to do today is encourage us to take a step back and instead of just setting goals we want to accomplish for ourselves; we set goals that bring us closer to Christ. In fact...these aren’t just goals, they can become our way of life.
1. Spend a little more time with Christ
I say spend a little more time with Christ because for me, spending time with Christ seems to take a back burner when I get busy, or just find something else to do. Our growth isn’t automatic! If we genuinely want to be mature Christians, we have to spend time with Christ. So one of the things I have recently adopted is the attitude that I can do anything for two minutes. And what I’ve found is that if I do something for two minutes, I will continue longer, but you don’t have to.
Another way to spend more time with Christ is to set an alarm for a couple of times a day to remind you to just say a quick prayer like, “Thy Will be done” or a simple “thank you” just to keep Christ centered in your mind.
What I don’t want to encourage you to do is start an extravagant prayer rule that will take an hour or so to complete. If you want to start spending time alone with God, start small so that you will have more success and not burn yourself out trying to keep it up every day. Two minute is easy and you can do it even if you get up late. Look at it this way. If your goal is two minutes and you spend 30 minutes, you will feel great and want to continue, but if your goal is an hour and you only spend 2 minutes, then you feel like you failed and will possibly give up.
One of the most beautiful lines of scripture is Psalm 42:1 'As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. ' That’s how I want my life to be, and I hope you do as well, but unless we’re called by God to do long sessions of prayer starting small will give us the momentum to grow.
2. Go to Church Regularly
When we miss church, the body of Christ isn’t complete. I mentioned this in the 3rd part of the Didache series. The virus has shown people that they don’t really need to go to church. They can stream it in their living room or just skip it all together. Many times people make the mistake of thinking that we go to church to receive a blessing. That we go to church to be filled. And while those things are accomplished when we go to church, they are not the reason we go to church. We go to church to Worship God because we love him for what he has done for us. We go to church to share in the life of Christ with other believers.
For the listeners who are Orthodox Christians you don’t actually go to a church service you go to Liturgy which actually translates to “The Work of The People.” Making it all the more accurate to say that we need to be there so the body of Christ is complete.
Father Thomas Hopko said
You go to church to work. You don’t go to church to be entertained. It’s not food for thought. It’s not rest and relaxation. It’s not a trip into some escaping world of childhood, where it’s all pretty and nice; it’s hard work: to come to church, to stand there, to pay attention, to listen,