“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” (Philippians 1:21 NLT)
What is it that brings you the most satisfaction? Closing that big sale? Making that goal in a critical game? Winning the hand of the one you love? Cooking that perfect meal? Doing well on an exam? Landing the job you’ve longed to have? Obviously, there are many possibilities.
Sometimes we’re like the little boy in Sunday School class. The teacher held up a picture of a squirrel, then asked the class: “Who can tell me what this is?” The teacher called on little David, but he seemed hesitant to answer. Finally, he said, “Well, I see the whiskers and the bushy tail, but I’m going to have to go with Jesus.”
Sometimes, we can’t imagine exactly how Jesus fits into the scenario we’re considering, but it just seems like He should be the right answer. So, in terms of a life goal, to think of Jesus as the answer on some levels just doesn’t seem to fit. How in the world can a person, even God, be our goal?
That’s actually a very reasonable question. If our goal is to become a god, that’s an issue. However, if our goal is to become LIKE God, we’re getting close to finding a good plan.
Consider what Paul wrote in Romans 6:12-14: “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”
As we allow the Holy Spirit to live in and through us, our lives give evidence of God’s life in us. That’s what Paul was talking about in the verse at the top of the page from Philippians. If our life’s goal is to allow the Holy Spirit to conform us to the likeness of our Savior, little-by-little Christ’s life will come to the forefront of our lives as little-by-little sin’s hold on us dies.
The reality is that the moment we yield our lives and allegiance to Jesus, His cleansing blood washes us of sin and we become a new creation in Christ Jesus. We’re given all the tools we will ever need to be everything the Lord desires us to be; however, it takes time for our will to conform to God’s will.
On some levels we still want what we want when we want it. The attractions of worldly passions still seek to pull us into sin and disobedience, but God’s Spirit will give us victory as we learn to trust Him and begin to want what God wants for us more than what we want for ourselves. When we fail, we seek forgiveness, but we continue to move forward.
To some degree we’ll fight this battle ‘til our dying breath, but we mustn’t lose sight of our goal. If Christlikeness is our heart’s desire, over time, with the Spirit’s help we’re able to take captive our thoughts for Christ, we’ll begin to think and act more like Jesus. It all begins with a decision.
In this season of my life all I want is what God wants for me – nothing more, nothing less! Am I as much like Jesus as I’ll ever be? I pray not! I want to continue to grow in Him until my dying breath. I/we will never deserve all that God has given and done on our behalf, but we can grow in gratitude as we realize more and more fully how helpless we’d be to find our way home without Him.
So, I’ll ask you again – just between you and the Lord – what is your life’s goal? I pray it will always and forever be – Jesus!
Blessings, Ed 😊