In the Mel Gibson classic, The Patriot, Benjamin Martin shares a word of instruction with his sons about shooting: “Aim small, miss small.” In other words, don’t just shoot aimlessly. Zero in on a single point and even if you miss, you’ll hit something vital very near the mark.

I get it. When I was a fairly young kid, my grandfather let me shoot his revolver. It was a .22-special, but to me, it may as well have been Clint Eastwood’s famous .44 magnum. I stood on his back porch, pointed the weapon into the empty pasture, closed my eyes and pulled the trigger. My grandfather immediately took the gun and took a shot off a round himself, then walked me down and showed me where must have taken a plug out of an old fencepost.

When you close your eyes, you rarely hit the target. But that’s the way many of us live life – with our eyes closed – at least in terms of where we’re headed and what we’re aiming for.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:17, “Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (NLT). Or as Eugene Peterson paraphrased it in The Message“Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.”

When we live aimlessly on autopilot, we just coast along, surviving but never really thriving. God desires that we understand who we are and why we’re here, so he revealed his Word to us, the Bible, so that we would understand his purpose and pursue it. When I focus on my target – being like my Master, Jesus – I can live with intentionality and even though I never seem to quite hit the mark exactly on any given day, I’m way closer than when I live with my eyes closed.

God has a purpose for your life. He made you for his own pleasure. He wants you to know and be like his Son, Jesus. He has a ministry and a mission for you. And when you discover his purpose and begin to pursue it, life suddenly takes on fresh meaning.

If you’re walking through life with your eyes closed, stop it! Open your eyes, find the target and aim small. And even when you miss small, you’ll be way better off.

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