One of the recruiting slogans for the United States Air Force is a very simple, but powerful statement. It is, “Aim High.” This slogan usually appears on a poster with a stylized jet aircraft streaking upward in a vertical climb. The Air Force is obviously playing off the fact that their job is in large measure done high in the skies. At the same time, this slogan also reflects the higher educational standards that must be met by Air Force recruits.
The idea of aiming high is a principle that applies to every aspect of life. In one form or another most of us have been urged to be the best we can be in everything we do. Most of us have, in turn, urged our children, or others with whom we have influence, to be the best they can be. Every time someone exhorts us in this way, and every time we exhort another in this way, we are telling them to aim high.
Part of the reason for aiming high is so that if we for some reason fail to reach our goal, we will at least have reached higher than if we had not set so high a goal. For example, a student whose goal is simply to pass a course in school will not put out the same effort as a student whose goal is to get on the “A” honor roll. With such a low aim point, any lack of success is likely to end up with a failing grade. On the other hand, the student trying for the highest academic achievement may not successfully reach it, but he will still achieve far above many of his counterparts.
The same principle applies to our spiritual walk. Those who are Christians are exhorted by scripture to aim high. We have been called to a higher calling, and we can only reach that higher calling by purposely aiming for it. Paul the apostle particularly emphasized this principle in several of his letters. In Phil. 3:14-16 he said, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.” The “upward call of God” of which Paul spoke is our higher calling. It is a standard that surpasses that of the world in every respect, and the apostle expected us to aim for it, just as he himself did.
In Col. 3:1 Paul again urged Christians to aim high. He said, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” His point is obvious. Christians should have their focus above, where the Lord is, rather than on the earth and the things of the earth. We cannot attain to the upward call of God in Christ if we are not aiming high; that is, if we are not focused on our Lord and on His word.
In 1 Tim. 3:13 Paul gave a practical example of what aiming high achieves. Speaking of deacons who serve faithfully he said, “For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” Those who aim high in spiritual things will, with God’s help, reach their goal, and they will be rewarded for it, both here in life and in eternity.
No one denies that aiming high requires extra effort in order to reach such a lofty goal. That effort, however, is more than repaid when one aims high and reaches his goal. God’s desire is that we aim high spiritually so He can bring us into heaven at the end of time. Now that is a goal worth aiming for!