January 5, 2023

Aim at Righteousness

Written by Tripp Prince

Better to spend a lifetime struggling toward perfection than to give up the pursuit altogether.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 5, 2023

So shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22, RSV

I do not own a gun nor did I grow up around guns, so the world of hunting and target shooting is entirely foreign to me. That said, on a handful of occasions I’ve been invited by friends to shoot clay pigeons, an invitation that I have always been happy to accept. Typically, this outing has involved one or two knowledgeable people taking us out to a field in the country, handing us loaded weapons, and launching clay targets across the horizon while the rest of us who’ve never used said weapons do our best to pretend we know what we’re doing as we take aim at the pigeons sailing across the sky. 

In order to stand a chance at hitting a clay target, I quickly learned I must pay incredibly close attention to its movement and location. How quickly did it launch off the thrower? How was it impacted by the wind as it soared through the sky? How far in advance of the target did I need to aim my shot in order to time it just right?

I thought of this experience as I today read the words of 2 Timothy 2:22. Interestingly, whereas almost all English translations encourage us to “pursue righteousness,” as I was reading a translation known as The Apostolos, their choice of words stood out to me: “Aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace.” For whatever reason, this phrasing captured my imagination in a newfound way. 

Though our best efforts must be animated and transformed by the grace of God, we are still exhorted to aim our lives at the target of all that is right, good, and true. And just like my skeet shooting, though we may not always hit the target, we continue to strive toward the goal and keep our sights set on the prize. The greatest discipleship mistake that you can ever make is to aim at a lesser target because you fear the call of God is beyond your reach.

Better to spend a lifetime struggling toward perfection than to give up the pursuit altogether. 

Aim your life at the prize of perfection. As Scripture reminds us, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). There is no other target, no alternative acceptable to the follower of Christ. We keep our eyes on the target, following its movements and rhythm and learning to daily adjust our aim in response, trusting that the Lord strengthens and steadies us as we do.


Father, help me to daily aim my life at a righteous and holy life, believing that you work in and through me even as I seek after you, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


How can you today be more attentive to the target of the Kingdom, and adjust your aim in response?

Related Reading

1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:14; 1 Timothy 4:12

Worship Resource

Sandra McCracken: We Will Feast in the House of Zion


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