Begin with the End in Mind

Begin with the end in mind is the second of Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people.
While the first habit, seek first to understand then to be understood, can be considered in the context of  James 1:19-20 what is the Christian context for the second habit?
While I have found all the habits set out by Covey to be helpful is there more to the second habit?
We picture the end product then proceed to take the steps to produce it e.g. a new home begins with ideas, then a plan and then construction. Does the same apply to a person’s life?
Covey uses the illustration of attending one’s own funeral where there are four speakers, one from your family, another a friend, a third speaker is from your workplace or profession and the final speaker is from your church or community organisation. He then poses the question, What would you like each of them to say about you and your life?
While there is merit in the exercise I find I am limited in my capacity, my knowledge, skills, and experience to complete it. In fact I am a work in progress, as Covey states, however I am not self-directed but Christ directed. It is God who sees the future and He is shaping me after the character of His son, Jesus. My task is to submit myself, to be obedient, in faith to God’s shaping. As the Apostle Paul states in 2 Timothy 1:12, Because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
Covey in discussing the second habit proposes adopting a principle-centred life, where our lives are built on correct principles. Again his proposal has merit however, it misses the mark. The foundation for a Christian isn’t principles it is Christ.
God has the end in mind and we can be confident in him to shape us and prepare us for life eternal when we put our trust in Jesus. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no-one comes to the Father but by me. (John 14:6)


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