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Monday, November 27, 2023

How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Urgent

In Ephesians 5:16 it says, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (NLT)

It often feels like the 365 days I’m given each year aren’t enough time to do everything I want to do. In fact, I probably feel like there aren’t enough minutes in this day to accomplish what I think I need to do!

The good news is that God doesn’t expect me to do everything. He has given me just enough time to do everything he wants me to do—everything he planned and purposed for me to do.

That’s why it’s important for me to set goals. Goals help me focus my life. Paul models this when he says, “I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something — not just the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26 NCV).

Paul knew his purpose, and all his plans and goals were focused on it. I need to have that same kind of focus.

Too many of us, including myself, focus our lives on unimportant causes. Trivial Pursuit isn’t just a game; it’s a description of our culture. Most of what’s going on in our world today won’t matter in a weekmuch less for eternity.

Many people can’t tell the difference between “urgent” and “important.” What seems urgent is almost never what is important. I put aside family time, time with God, and time with friends for the urgent matters that rarely matter for long.

Goals are how I can focus and create the kind of life that chases the important rather than what feels urgent. Goals will focus my energy and help bring health and balance to life.

For example, if I made it my goal to get healthy in some specific way this year, then that decision will focus my energy on that task. Anytime I’m tempted to eat junk food or skip a workout for extra sleep, my goal will help you stay on track. It will remind me of what’s important.

The Bible says, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:16 NLT).

Make the most of life by setting some goals. Don’t waste another year on the urgent rather than the important.

By referring to these days as evil, Paul was communicating his sense of urgency because of evil's pervasiveness. I need the same sense of urgency because my days are also difficult. I must keep my standards high, act wisely, and do good whenever I can.