Editor's Note: Some content excerpted from 7 Habits of Truly Effective Living
by Alex Crain, Crosswalk.com Contributor
“Begin with the end in mind” sounds like great advice doesn't it? “Begin with the end in mind” is a phrase from the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. Stephen's point is that beginning any project, you should always ask the question "How do I want this to turn out?" Otherwise as Jesus said;
Luke 14:25-30 ESV Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
Beginning with the end in mind can help sharpen focus and cultivate good work habits, and if everything works as planned we will have the ideal life. A life surrounded by beauty, expensive things, and favorite people. A life with plenty of leisure time and the health to enjoy these things.
Psalm 92 paints a picture of the ideal life as that of a righteous person who bears good fruit. He is "full of sap and very green." In other words, he is filled with spiritual vitality when the temptation to grumble and express radical selfishness is the strongest.
The roots for a strong, 'sap-filled' soul are found in Psalm 92. Here, the seven habits of truly effective living are unfolded for us:
#1 Seeing thankfulness and praise to God as something desirable, not as a duty (Psalms 92:1). Far from complaining, his lips are filled with praise.
Psalm 92:1 (BBE)1 It is a good thing to give praise to the Lord, and to make melody to your name, O Most High;
#2 Focusing on God's lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness at night.
Psalm 92:2 (BBE)2 To make clear your mercy in the morning, and your unchanging faith every night;
For the righteous man, each day begins and ends with God. God is central in his thoughts throughout the entire day. The righteous person is not self-righteous. Rather, he looks to God's promises as the basis for his right standing before his Creator-Judge. Christ fulfilled these promises and delivers from a life of vain pursuits all who trust Him.
#3 Enjoying resounding music and singing for joy at God's great works
Psalm 92:3 (BBE) 3 On a ten-corded instrument, and on an instrument of music with a quiet sound.
"You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands."
#4 Pondering the deep thoughts of God. Not being characterized by a shallow, pragmatic view of God that sees Him merely as a means to get other things.
Psalm 92:4-5 (BBE)4 For you, O Lord, have made me glad through your work; I will have joy in the works of your hands.5 O Lord, how great are your works! and your thoughts are very deep.
#5 Praising the transcendence of God—declaring that God is the "Most High" who is above all His creatures. The righteous one realizes that man is in no way equal to God. Thus, he can never legitimately view God with suspicion or call Him into judgment/
Psalm 92:7-8 (BBE)7 When the sinners come up like the grass, and all the workers of evil do well for themselves, it is so that their end may be eternal destruction.8 But you, O Lord, are on high for ever.
#6 Resting securely in the fact that, in the end, God will have the final say on all matters. He will deal justice to the enemies of righteousness.
Psalm 92:9-11 (BBE)9 For see! your haters, O Lord, will be put to death; all the workers of evil will be put to flight;10 But my horn is lifted up like the horn of the ox: the best oil is flowing on my head.11 My eyes have seen trouble come on my haters; my ears have news of the fate of the evil-doers who have come up against me.
#7 Depending continuously upon God for strength—for "fresh oil" (Psalms 92:1), knowing that yesterday's supply never carries over to today.
Psalm 92:12-15 (BBE)12 The good man will be like a tall tree in his strength; his growth will be as the wide-stretching trees of Lebanon.13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord will come up tall and strong in his gardens.14 They will give fruit even when they are old; they will be fertile and full of growth;15 For a sign that the Lord is upright; he is my Rock, there is no deceit in him.
Maybe you are or you know an older believer who embodies these seven habits. If you are you are operating with the end in mind.