Going for Gold: Living for God’s Glory

Here’s a question worth pondering: What are you chasing? 

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In the 2004 Winter Olympics, American sharp-shooter Matt Emmons believed he had clenched the gold.  With only one bullet left to shoot in the final round of the men’s 50-meter rifle competition, he needed only a score of 7.2 (to get near the bullseye) to win and be crowned champion.

Emmons aimed, pulled the trigger, and fired.  The crowd watched with anticipation as the bullet blazed through the air and hit the bullseye.  There was just one small problem.  He had shot at his competitor’s target. 

Emmons received a score of zero, dropped to eighth place, and went home empty-handed.  This story proves that it’s possible to be laser-focused and hit the bullseye but completely miss the target.



Over the course of my life, I’ve aimed at many different targets.  I’ve chased perfectionism and productivity, driven by a desire to perform and attributing my success, or lack thereof, to my self-worth.  I’ve shot at approval and acceptance, desperately wanting to fit in, find my place in this world, and know that who I was and what I did mattered.

Like Emmons, there were many times I “hit the bullseye.”  I graduated summa cum laude from my Master’s program, achieved National Board Certification, and got accepted into a competitive internship program.  I was recognized in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, featured on the front page of the Washington Post, and told by an administrator that she would “see my name in lights one day.”

I once believed these things were what gave my life meaning and purpose.  Who I was became deeply rooted in my personal achievements.  (This is a dangerous place to be.)

I’d be lying if I said that worldly success and accolades from others didn’t bring some level of satisfaction, but the feeling was short-lived.  In striving to measure up, I was shooting at a moving target.  In aiming for perfection, I was chasing the unattainable.  It drained my time, energy, and focus from the things that mattered most. 

It wasn’t until God challenged me to slow down and set aside my fast-paced life for a spirit-filled one that I realized my priorities had shifted.  I’d become more concerned with following societal norms than following God.  I had prioritized my goals over God’s glory.  To live for Him, I had to ask myself some hard questions, be honest with my answers, and invite God into the areas of my life that were out of alignment.

Would God be pleased with how I‘m spending my time?  Am I investing in things of this world or things of eternal significance?

Do I measure success by how many items I check off my to-do list or by whether I am living in alignment with His Word?  Are my priorities aligned with God’s priorities?

Am I living for His glory, not my own?  Do I seek to know Him and make Him known more than my own personal success or happiness?

If I keep living this way, what kind of legacy will I leave?  Will I have taught my children that our value is determined by what we do and life is a constant hustle to do more, be more, and accumulate more?  Or will I have taught them that their value is given by God and encourage them to slow down, seek Him, and accept His grace in place of perfection?1

Am I showing others, through my words and actions, that life is about learning to love like Jesus, building relationships, and breaking free from societal expectations so we can grow into the person God created us to be?

The legacy we leave is determined by the life we lead.  As Christians, there should be an identifiable difference in the way we do life.  If we’re following the crowd, we’re running the wrong race.  To leave a legacy for God’s glory, we must choose to live in a way that proves we belong to His Kingdom (1 Thessalonians 2:12 GW).

What does this look like for you?



Take a moment to listen to the song, Legacy, by Nicole Nordeman.  Here’s an excerpt that speaks to me:

I don’t mind if you have something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
And you can take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all the Who’s Who’s and So-and-So’s
That used to be the best as such-and-such
It wouldn’t matter much

I won’t lie, it feels all right to see my name in lights
We all need an “atta-boy” or “atta-girl”
But in the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides the temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy



As God began to clear my blurred vision so I could focus on leaving “that kind of legacy” – one that honors and glorifies Him – this song became my anthem.  As I invited Him into my heart, He redirected my desire from seeing my name in lights to shining as a light for Him.  As my priorities began to shift, I spent less time chasing the “temporary trappings of this world” so I could store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20).  This meant investing in my relationships with God and others, discovering how to use my gifts for His glory, and chasing what God says matters most:

“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Him.”  Matthew 6:33 (Passion Translation)

We are called to a unified purpose of seeking God, knowing Him, and making Him known.  We are called to focus on things of eternal significance – His Word and people.  This is our top priority.


Going for Gold

Here’s a question worth pondering: What are you chasing?  Is it performance?  Perfection?  Productivity?  Acceptance?  Approval?  Success?  If you’re not sure, consider what you spend most of your time doing or thinking about. 

In trying to keep up with societal norms, most of us become so busy climbing the ladder of success that we fail to realize it’s leaning against the wrong wall.2   Like Emmons, we’re so focused on hitting the bullseye that we don’t realize we’re aiming at the wrong target.

We know we’re aiming for the right target when we can affirmatively answer the following questions:

  • Am I more concerned with following Jesus than who is following me?
  • Am I more concerned with building His Kingdom than building my bank account, resume, or reputation?
  • Am I more concerned with hearing “Well done, good and faithful one,” than receiving accolades from others, achieving a stellar review, or getting the most likes on social media?

The process of simplifying our busy schedules doesn’t begin with identifying our priorities.  It begins with seeking God’s guidance and aligning our priorities with His.  As we do this, it becomes a lot easier to make decisions.  It becomes much more clear what should stay and what must go to live simply, freely, and focused on things that have a Kingdom impact.

A Kingdom-focused life is one where we continually draw closer to God, are committed to pursuing His calling, and are willing to set aside personal goals if they collide with Christ’s vision or mindset.3  Our faith should drive our decisions, determine our priorities, and give deeper meaning to our work.

Every action we take is an opportunity to “go for the gold” and live in alignment with Him.  Will you fight for the eternal crown (1 Corinthians 9:25)?  Or, like Emmons, will you go home empty-handed?


Call to ActionPrayerfully reflect on the following questions and ask God to show you areas for growth.  What changes can you make to live a more Kingdom-focused life and leave a legacy for His glory?  



1. Niequist, Shauna.  (2016).  Present Over Perfect.  Grand Rapids, MI.  Zondervan.

2. Covey, Stephen R.  (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, New York. Free Press.

3. Noble, Scott.  (2018).  Are You Kingdom Focused?  Christian Investors Financial.  Accessed February 15, 2018 from https://christianinvestors.org/blog/are-you-kingdom-focused.



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Jen Roland

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Fueled Fit Focused was inspired by my passion for healthy living, my faith, and my desire to help others move from frazzled to focused and from a full, busy life to a fulfilling, purposeful one. I help women cultivate positive lifestyle habits for their mind, body, and soul with their faith as a foundation for sustainable change. This is accomplished through personalized coaching, speaking, workout sessions, and writing. I provide practical tips for simplified, healthy living so we can move toward wholeness together. To learn more about my ministry, visit www.jenroland.com or connect with me on Facebook @coachjenroland or Instagram @jenroland.

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