WHAT IS "THE MARK?"
It has been said that one of the definitions of sin is simply "missing the mark!"
The "mark" could be defined as being everything God wants us to be and living our lives as God designed in His perfect will.
Imagine a world where everyone hit the mark?
No locks, no lack, no fears! No one would litter or deface property. No one would break into another's home or steal their property. No one would ever want to harm another, including emotional harm! Love, peace and joy would fill the earth!
Outwardly, such a world will never exist until Jesus returns and rules it His way! Sin is behind the confusion in the world and the ineptness of all governments. Some governments may be preferable. Churchill said, Democracy is the worst form of government - except for all the others."
I regret to report that I cannot change this world to be that perfect place!
But I can do something - I can strive to hit the mark in my own life!
At first glance, this probably doesn't seem like a great news flash. How hopeless and mundane it sounds that the answer to a better world is to "Be the best that I can be!" That's because it is!
Hitting the mark is something different. "Being the best I can be" could amount to nothing more than an exercise of making a list of strengths and weaknesses and making something similar to a "New Year's resolution" to try harder.
The problem is that, however well intentioned such an effort might be, it will always be tainted by our own sinful nature and the many false concepts which have been implanted in us up to that point!
For example, many would probably include, "Be more loving." on their list. But the concept of love that we have acquired is far different from the Divine Love intended by God! In the English language, we use the same word, "love," for loving God, family, job, car or smartphone. How can a love so vague change the world?
When we make an effort to "love more," we can only act on whatever understanding we have of it, however faulty it might be! Human love will always fall pitifully short.
Only the Divine love which God possesses and wants to impart to us will truly hit the mark!
Striving to hit the mark is far different! It involves a decision to lay down all that we have previously accumulated - erasing the blackboard in our minds and hearts. It is a decision to open the heart fully to God's ways and to do all we can to learn His ways and act in accordance with them!
This can be difficult because some have worked very hard to develop old concepts which have been planted in us since birth! Many have further incubated these false beliefs, resulting in powerful strongholds with deep walls to lock out anything which contradicts or shakes those beliefs!
Paul spoke of his willingness to lay down all he had gained in his previous way of life:
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
THE MASTER EDITOR!
Rather than being a list of how we will better ourselves, striving to hit the mark becomes a rewrite of corrections as we edit our personal "book of life" as God reveals Himself to us!
We allow Him to be the Master Editor of our lives! We begin to seek Him, submit to Him and obey Him, all the while continuing to cross out words, phrases, paragraphs and perhaps even entire chapters of what seems so right and indelible in our "personal book!"
We also write new words, thoughts and chapters as the Master Editor dictates to us!
We are not attempting to merely "be the best we can be" by our own human efforts, according to our current concepts and philosophies. Instead we are striving to allow God to reprogram us fully and to actually work in us and through us to improve at hitting the mark!
THE MASTER ARCHER!
Picture a round archery target. If I am really inexperienced with a bow and arrow, I may not even try at all to hit the target. If I venture to try, I may not even be able to hit the target - my arrows may fall off to the side.
So we come to the Master Archer who is thoroughly acquainted with every aspect of archery. He will correct our grip when we first pick up the bow and arrow. He will correct our stance and make other adjustments. Our first attempts may be feeble. Eventually, we may hit the target on the outer edge. We may progress toward the center but still can't hit it precisely or consistently.
As Christians, we are to come to God and ask Him to train us! We should never be satisfied until we can consistently hit the bulls eye on the target that God has designed for us!
We must be patient. Children become frustrated when they attempt something new and aren't good at it. They are clueless concerning the time and effort it takes to master a difficult skill or task. Children often become angered by their frustration and want to quit.
Don't quit! Don't be a sideline Christian who sits out the competition, laughingly saying "I am just not very good at this."Don't settle for being a mediocre Christian who barely hits the outer edge! Put in the hours with the Master Trainer to become great in His eyes. Read and study His writings so you grow closer to "HITTING THE MARK!"
I DID IT MY WAY!
Don't do it "your way" as the old Frank Sinatra song declares! Empty yourself and allow God to teach you, train you and fill you - constantly looking to Him to make you great!
What a world it would be if you and I did that with all of our heart, mind, soul, strength and passion!
Human efforts to improve as we think best is like trying to throw a thimble full of water on a forest fire!
But doing it God's way, in God's strength can change the world in incredible ways!
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.