Do you have a life goal?

To be a world traveler?

To have good friends?

Improve your health?

There is nothing wrong with setting goals for oneself. But what if a man’s goal in life is to be the best cook in the country, he becomes ill, and his taste buds all permanently go south?

He may think, “My life is ruined.”

When any of us lack a worthy life goal, we find ourselves with goals and aspirations which are precariously dependent upon circumstances. It can then be difficult for us to determine what we’re really doing with our life or what is even most important to us. This leaves the door wide open for disappointment, frustration, or mediocrity.

Goals relating to our friends or family, finances, physical health, and other matters are essential. Of greater importance, however, is our ultimate goal or purpose.

 What is yours?

* * *

Just as there are goals which get trashed by events beyond our control, there may be some we achieve. Perhaps it’s a dream home or car we would love to own. (Like, ‘Hellooooo white ‘65 Corvette in mint condition!’)  Yet while God often allows us extras over and above our needs, He is more concerned with the thoughts harbored in our minds today than how we got from point A to point B, or even whether we aced the test we were praying about.

When we see Christ face-to-face, we will not be giving any thoughts to vehicles we enjoyed, what our home looked like, or whether or not our desire for a healthy and happy life was fulfilled. Suddenly, what’s going to matter most to each and every one of us is that we lived a life of faithfulness to God, we strove to become more Christ-like, and that we saw things with spiritual eyes.

The Apostle Paul exemplified someone with a worthy life goal (see Philippians 3:8-11) and toward the end of his life was able to attest of his purpose, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). He didn’t have to ponder what his goal or purpose in life was. Paul simply wanted to be conformed into the image of his Savior, Jesus. He held to that desire, and keeping it was his number one priority.

Paul’s personal needs and natural desires were not swept away, but they became of secondary importance to him. He had learned to become flexible about his needs and desires and inflexible regarding his worthy life goal (which reflected his recognized purpose).

 * * *

I don’t know about you, but seeing Christ face-to-face is a future reality I tend to forget in the everyday concerns of living. When there are responsibilities calling and ordinary occurrences engaging me, the idea of living in Christ’s physical presence is often relegated to some fuzzy, cobwebbed recess of my mind.

While “everyday living” with its routines and responsibilities is a normal part of life, we should remember daily that this world is not our home. The child of God’s true home and citizenship is in heaven (see Ephesians 2:19). We must therefore discipline ourselves to think of what it is God wants to use us for on this earth today as His beloved children.

Our earthly days are numbered. What are we doing with the fleeting hours, days, and years which is important not only to us but for God’s kingdom?

This is an area where I benefitted from the wisdom of others. A friend challenged me about my goal in life and I began to realize the proper life goal would not separate everyday living from worthy spiritual pursuits. In fact, everyday living is the playfield for our spiritual exercises and encounters.

* * *

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). What a wonderful thing this would be for each follower of Christ to be able to say at his or her life’s end!

So how could Paul claim this?

The apostle Paul’s writings reveal a goal to model Christ and it appears this was in the forefront of his mind. Through this process, however, He kept what I will call a “sane estimation” of himself (see Romans 12:3). Paul didn’t delude himself or try to dupe others into thinking he had everything together. He bemoaned his own tendencies to sin, fully cognizant of his weaknesses and inability to do anything worthwhile through his own power (see Romans 7:15).

I find this quite thrilling. Why? Because God will joyfully fellowship with and use any such person!

* * *

When you and I have a life goal in harmony with God’s Word and recognize that God alone can help us in that process, we will be humble and running on course. And rather than having circumstances mess up our life goal of becoming like Jesus, the Christ follower has full assurance that everything coming his or her way is actually used by God as a means by which to reach that worthy goal! (See Romans 8:28-29.)

The reality is that God is going to conform every one of His children into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. This is His purpose for every believer. It is a “done deal” in the moment each of His adopted sons and daughters enter eternity. In the here and now, God lovingly sets believers apart to embrace His will for them and learn to become like Jesus, through the help and power of the Holy Spirit (I Thessalonians 4:3-4 and 7-8).

Shouldn’t we want to experience harmony with God by having hearts and minds which mesh perfectly with His wonderful purpose for us? To such an end, the child of God adopting the goal of being conformed into the likeness of Christ through obedience to God and His Word, without any exceptions, is not the least bit unreasonable.

We may ask: “Really? Why embrace a goal where there will be multiple failures—often by the hour?”

Based on God’s own Word, the believer does not have to stress about failing the high privilege and calling to become like his or her Savior—it becomes a lifelong endeavor. Importantly, while we cooperate with God in becoming like Christ, the glorious culmination and success is made sure by God, not His followers! (see Philippians 1:6)

A passage which greatly encourages me in this goal is Philippians 3:13-14: Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Another is Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

When our goal is to be like Christ, we should also remember Romans 12:3: “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment.

* * *

Adopting a life goal of being like Jesus does not mean we will find ourselves exempt from appalling failures! There are days I wonder whether I should flat give up because I’m so sick of my bent towards sinning. Yet what I possess now, even though I often fail at it, is a clear, easily defined goal or purpose in my life. It interrupts my thought life. It changes my priorities. And, unlike many other worthwhile goals, my ultimate goal—to become like Christ—is not dependent upon or affected by any circumstances:

Whether our country is at peace or at war.

Whether or not we see financial ruin.

Even when I don’t “succeed” (in my definition of the word).

Are other goals in life still important? Absolutely! Should you need to readjust your ultimate goal in life, other goals (such as improving God-honoring relationships, managing your money wisely, and taking steps to improve your health) are still very worthwhile and necessary.

And, honestly, God may not be displeased if you’re tooling around in a really cool car or truck!

But there’s an old hymn some of us should probably unpack and begin singing again; here’s a snapshot:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His than have riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands. Yes, I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hands.

Than to be the king of a vast domain and be held in sin’s dread sway. I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.

 * * *

I’d rather have Jesus than anything. Is that true in my heart? Would I really rather have Jesus than comfort, my husband, or other blessings in life? It’s a question I should ask myself in the quiet of each day.

How about you?

Do you have a life goal? If so, is it a worthy goal in view of eternity? What is going to matter most when you see Christ face-to-face?

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

5 Comments

  • Stan says:

    So good, June! How easy it is to let my heart wander away from the PERFECT CENTER – even in pursuit of things I’m prone to rationalize as good. Great perspective changer this morning – thank you Lord!

  • Shannon says:

    I love the opening picture – that’s hilarious!!!

  • Brad says:

    June-
    Great reminder to keep the mind and heart focused on what really matters and let the peripheral issues in life move from the driver’s seat into the back of the bus

  • Becky says:

    What a great post and reminder, June, to keep things in perspective of eternity!

  • Judi says:

    This post was such a great reminder to me, June, that when my goals are aligned with what God wants for my life, they become part of my life to glorify Him.
    Your point about spiritual goals not being separate from our everyday life (and the wisdom of friends…) hit home for me as well. I think of how often I may have overlooked a spiritual opportunity that was right in front of me, because I had set my sights on a goal that was out in the future.
    Thank you, my wise friend!

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