Spiritual Sharpshooters On Target and Hitting the Bullseye
Summary: Too many Christians live their lives as if they were running aimlessly or shadow boxing, with no set goals or deliberate strategy for their spiritual growth. This brief sermon outline reveals five biblical principles to help you to take aim at the right spiritual targets.
Too often for some Christians, the old saying "Ready, aim, fire" is ignored in favor of a hasty, unfocused "Ready, fire, aim." The wise Christian — whom I liken to a spiritual sharpshooter — looks to the Lord and to His Word to select his targets, his goals, his aims in life, and pursues them diligently rather than just expending lots of random energy that is not focused on goals learned from Scripture and the leading of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 9:26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
•• In your Christian walk, don’t run aimlessly. Take aim at specific, worthwhile targets!
•• Many Christians live reactively. They are content to react, to respond, to life around them. Wise Christians live proactively. They take the initiative, rather than adopting a passive attitude, in their Christian walk.
•• The victorious Christian has purpose; he has objectives. And he stays focused on those purposes and objectives. He is careful to take aim at the right targets. For example, if I'm training to be a 100-meter sprinter, I won't spend my practice time running marathons.
•• Take aim at some things in your Christian life. And be sure to target meaningful things. Set desirable, biblical goals, and deliberately structure your lives to press towards those goals.
Matthew 7:13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
•• This is the origin of our proverbial expression in English — “the straight and narrow.”
•• The broad way appeals to many ... and ends in destruction!
•• The narrow way does not appeal to the flesh as much. But it is God’s way, and it leads to life eternal!
•• You have to choose the narrow way. It seems less appealing. The broad way seems better:
• “Sin is fun!” people declare.
• Indulging my cravings is enjoyable.
• More relaxed standards are easier to live up to.
• But remember what’s at the end of that broad way — destruction for the many!
(1) So aim for the narrow road that leads to life.
2 Corinthians 5:8-10 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ...
(2) Aim to please God in all that you do.
•• Jesus said, “I always do what pleases Him” (John 8:29).
•• This is an excellent standard for Christians to use in making decisions in their lives, conduct, thoughts, etc. Ask yourself: Will this please the Lord?
(3) Aim now for a clear conscience before God and man.
•• There will be a resurrection, and we will face the Lord.
•• We were taught a helpful thing in my youthful years — that is, to “examine our conscience.”
• How is your conscience before God? before man?
• Take aim for a clear conscience. As Paul said, “Strive always” for a clear conscience. Target it; make it your objective and unrelenting desire.
1 Corinthians 14:12 So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.
(4) Aim to be men and women who love the church.
•• Jesus said He would build His Church (Matthew 16:18). Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25). Paul prayed: “To Him [to God] be glory in the church...” (Ephesians 3:21).
•• Aim to use your talents, gifts, and ministries to build up Jesus’ beloved Church.
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection...
(5) "Aim for perfection!" — that’s the Word of God!
•• Why do modern Christians have such a hard time with this? Why is it so easy to offer the blameshifting excuse: “Well, nobody’s perfect.”
•• One day in the Lord’s presence we will become “the spirits of righteous men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:23).
•• But here and now, in this life, Paul says (2 Corinthians 13:9), “our prayer is for your perfection.”
•• One of the most dangerous things I can think of is for a Christian to live at a level that is thought to be “enough to get by.” What if you misjudge and it’s not enough?!!
In sum, let’s take aim at worthy targets, and stay on target in a lifelong pressing for the finish line of our walk with the Lord. I’ve suggested five important biblical goals (5 'bullseyes' to aim at):
1. Aim for the Lord’s narrow road, not the world’s broad way.
2. Aim to please God with every choice, every thought, every act.
3. Aim to have your conscience always clear before God and man.
5. Aim for perfection! Be thankful for the level that God has brought you to. Live up to that level and don’t fall back. But don’t stop. Aim for God’s best! Aim to be in that chaste, holy, radiant bride of Christ.