Word for You

Wednesday 27 January

‘Don’t begin until you count the cost.’ Luke 14:28 NLT

Be realistic (1)

Jesus was realistic about a life spent following Him, and encouraged others to be realistic about it too: ‘If you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple…Don’t begin until you count the cost’ (v.14:27-28 NLT). We might think that being realistic about things is the opposite of having faith. But that isn’t true. Having faith doesn’t mean we’re denying the way things are. Instead, faith connects us with our God who will help us face our reality, whatever that might be. Here are two things that thinking realistically can do for us: 1) Minimise unnecessary risks. All of our actions have consequences. Thinking realistically helps us determine what those consequences could be. This is particularly important when our actions affect others. There’s an old saying, ‘expect the best but plan for the worst’, and it’s actually a very good strategy for us to try. By thinking that way we minimise unnecessary risks. It helps to give us a goal, with a plan to reach it. We need a sense of hope in order to succeed, but hope isn’t a strategy. That’s why we need to think realistically in our planning. 2) Show what needs to be changed. People who rely only on hope for their success tend not to make change a high priority. If we only hope to be successful, we imply that success is all a matter of luck, and we needn’t be bothered about growth and change. But being realistic about where we are and where we want to be helps us discover what we need to change or learn to get there. Change alone doesn’t bring growth, but growth can’t happen without change.

What Now?

Think about what you want to have achieved in a week’s time, a month’s time, and a year’s time (go further ahead if you like). Check that your goals line up with God’s will, and ask Him to help you see what you need to learn or change to get there.