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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Dessert May Not Be Worth It

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. —Philippians 3:13-16 (ESV)

Several years ago, I was having dinner with a professional football player named Dave. He had agreed to help gather some of his teammates for a community fundraiser, and after our meal, I suggested we get dessert. Dave declined. I didn’t understand, though, because it was off-season. Surely he could indulge a little. I will never forget what Dave said to me:

“Each year those rookies are stronger and faster. To compete at the level needed, I have to ask myself: Is the crème brulee worth it?”

What a question! I realized then how focused my new friend Dave was on his goals. He knew his number one priority, and he had resolved to pursue it without compromise.

As we approach the beginning of a new year, it’s likely many of us will make resolutions to change something about our lifestyles. Whether it’s to lose weight, exercise, quit smoking, become more disciplined with our finances, or to work on strengthening relationships, there is one thing we all need to achieve our goals: Focus.

Your focus determines what you will achieve. If you allow yourself to be distracted, if you get off track or compromise, your goal may not happen.

So, what goals are you pursuing? Of course, it’s good to set financial goals and health goals and relationship goals. These are all wonderful things to pursue. But in our desire to discipline ourselves in 2023, let’s not forget the larger goal we are all called to pursue: “...[to] know Christ Jesus [our] Lord.” (Philippians 3:8 NRSV)

What the Apostle Paul had to say to the Church at Philippi is still relevant to those of us who want to begin 2023 with new resolutions. In order to achieve a goal, you must release what’s behind you and press toward your new goal, but Paul considers his primary objective to be knowing Christ. All other purposes – though good and noble – must not become our principal focus.

As we set our goals for the new year, let’s not forget to make a resolution for our spiritual health as well. Would you be willing to make growing closer to Jesus Christ your number one goal for 2023?

Imagine what your life would look like if knowing Jesus were your priority. That is the goal we are called to pursue as followers of Christ, but without focus, it won’t happen. If we aren’t intentional in our pursuit of a closer relationship with Jesus, life will distract us, pull us off course, and take us down roads we never wanted to travel.

Make Jesus your priority, and you will have clarity on your decisions. Your choice may not be whether or not to indulge in crème brulee, but whatever decision you need to make, with Jesus as your focus, you’ll know which way to go.

May your New Year be filled with blessings and focus!


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