As 2014 wound down I was on a bit of a mission to declare my spiritual goals for 2015. I wasn’t so concerned about any other goal, because I figure if I get this one right everything else falls into place. I just wanted to continue my purposeful pursuit of things with an eternal purpose.
As part of the process I visited my concordance and wrote out verses relating to a “goal” or “purpose.” It turns out there are quite a few…
In Luke 13:32, some Pharisees, hoping to persuade Jesus to “get outta Dodge” where he was upstaging them, said, “Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.‘”
2 Corinthians 5:1-9 is a passage that contrasts living in the earthly “tent” of our bodies with living in the eternal heavenly dwelling to come. We long for our heavenly dwelling because “the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
Sometimes my motives begin pure, then my pride, or ego, or desire to control take over, which is why Galatians 3:3 spoke to me, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” Whatever 2015 holds, I know I will need quiet time set aside to check the motives of my heart.
I want my heart to reflect Paul’s heart in Philippians 3:8, 13-14, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul instructed Timothy to warn against false teachers who were promoting “controversies rather than God’s work – which is by faith… The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:3-6
I trust that in 2015 I will be inspired by the living hope of Christ resurrected noted in 1 Peter 1:8-9, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not now see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Romans 9:16-17 reminds me, “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’”
No matter what comes my way this year, Romans 8:28 assures me, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I am a servant of God, called to fulfill my part of God’s plan, whether that be to plant a seed or water what others have planted so that God can make it grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 5:8-9
There is peace and reassurance through any suffering, knowing such things are temporary, “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 5:4-5
The promise and guarantee of Ephesians 1:5-14 makes me grateful, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
I will be confident with the words of Ephesians 3:7-11, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.”
And when I am tempted to stick my nose where it does not belong, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you” 1 Thessalonians 4:1
I reviewed each of these verses and summarized their messages. The common thread led me right back to what became the first entry in my new journal, my goal for 2015, and my life goal:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 23:36-39