The Goal – September 3rd, 2018

The Goal…

Maintaining focus is perhaps the singular most difficult objective of anyone pursuing a mission. There are many ways that we can find ourselves needlessly distracted, if we don’t keep our eye on the prize.

Read on… Let’s explore this!

Note from Kip…

You don’t have to spend much time with me to quickly understand that I’m just not a big fan of sports. I enjoy playing a game as an activity, but spending hours watching sports, or tracking all kinds of statistics, or analyzing strategy and execution, just doesn’t interest me much at all.

When pigeon holed into giving an opinion, it is highly likely that I’m going to identify the underdog in a contest and if forced to voice loyalty, reference that underdog without regard to anything else.

So, you might wonder why this individual that doesn’t ‘get into’ sports would be writing you about ‘goals’, or more specifically ‘The Goal’. It is because, goals are not only the objective in sport, they pose as waypoints in life as well.

The most critical thing about goals in life is to identify what your ultimate objective is and then remain focused on that goal and only those goals.

There is much to discuss about identifying this life goal, and we’ll try to cover everything we need to nail that down in this devotional, but be aware there is much to learn about goals in general and specifically about your life goals.

The Life Goal

Life goals are never accomplished during the span of our earthly existence, we either have or have not accomplished them when our last breath is drawn. Any goal accomplished before that, was not truly a life goal.

My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death.

Philippians 3:10 (CSB)

Now this seems like a pretty good start. Paul mentions here in Philippians, but its not his life goal by definition.

The thing about a life goal is that they can easily be confused with other goals, many of which are excellent goals, but are not purposeful to a lifetime objective.

See, here in what Paul is saying is excellent guidance, but it isn’t going to be be accomplished in anyones life time. Paul is speaking about knowing Jesus, the power of His resurrection along with the fellowship of His sufferings and conforming to His death.

There are three distinct objectives he spells out to us here. Let me taking them, in reverse order.

Conformed to the death of Jesus Christ

(the third objective found in Philippians 3:10)

I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 (CSB)

Jesus accomplished a myriad of things in His short three year ministry with us. Ultimately His ‘life goal’, was to redeem His creation. Now even as I say this I must conspired that that statement is based on my understanding of His mission in the life He forged as he walked among His creation.

While he was here He had numerous other goals that he accomplished and are important for us to consider as well, but at the end of it all, as He hung on that cross and drew His last breath, He accomplished that which He came to do. His life goal was completed. His life goal which was to be the perfect sacrifice that would cover a world of sin. When He said, “It is finished!”, He had accomplished that goal in totality.

Guiding Goals

We haven’t yet talked about Guiding Goals, but since we are going to focus on one that Christ had it’s perhaps time to do that.

Guiding goals are goals that support the life goal but are incremental and often times must be accomplished numerous times.

For us as followers of Jesus, we might identify a guiding goal as reading the scripture, praying, rejoicing, worship, conveying His love and grace to others, being His disciple. “I am doing that” or “I have done that” frame the initial description of a guiding goal. For example:

I am spending time in devotion and study of God’s Word.
I shared my testimony with a person I met in a waiting room.

Jesus also had guiding goals as well. Teaching, preaching, demonstrating compassion, providing sustenance, and restoration were all guiding goals for Christ. There were others to be sure but the one in particular that was accomplished along with His life goal was being our example.

The example He gave us in his death on the cross was this.

I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 (CSB)

So, Paul was saying, I’m conforming to Christs death, by dying with to sin with Him.  This is a guiding goal. It points us to a greater objective, we accomplish it repeatedly in the course of our lives if we are following His direction in our lives.

The fellowship of Christ’s sufferings

(the second objective found in Philippians 3:10)

For it has been granted to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.

Philippians 1:29 (CSB)

If we are going to strive to be the Disciples of Christ for which he calls us to be, we are going to more and more emulate Him and radiate His presence in our lives. The world hated him and because of that hatred He suffered. We are consigned to share in that same suffering, because if the world hated our master it will hate us as well.

Again, a worthwhile goal as a guiding principle. It’s not something that we would seek directly to be certain, but we need to understand that if we are the light and salt that he desires us to be, we will be counter to the world’s culture. By being in opposition, we will face ridicule and persecution and thus share in Christ suffering. This isn’t ‘one and done’, nor is it a final objective, it is a guiding goal.

Know Jesus and the power of His resurrection

(the first objective found in Philippians 3:10)

I know that some are sitting back saying, ‘wait a minute those are two things’, but I identified them as one because while we can grow in understanding of who Jesus is and experience the power of His resurrection on a daily basis, the fact is that we will not really fully know our redeemer until we are face to face with Him. Likewise, it is only at that point that the impact of His resurrection will be fully manifested in us.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (CSB)

Resolute Goals

So, since we will never fully understand who our Lord and Savior is until we stand with Him In glory, this also isn’t a guiding goal or a life goal. Instead it a continuing abiding principle by which we function within. Perhaps the best term we could associate with theses types of goals are that they are a ‘resolute goal’.

Like guiding goals they focus us on our life goal, but the difference here is that they are more related to the principles on which we establish our behavior within. As a result, we continue to work on these goals but they are never finally accomplish within this life.

We only have a sampling of what our existence will be like when our days here are accomplished, but I would also think that these resolute goals continue on throughout eternity as well.

Yes, 1 Corinthians 13:12 says that we will know as we are known, but even though Christ will reveal Himself completely at that time, I seriously doubt that we will have the capacity to fully review and take in the understanding He’s imparting to us. I think at that point everything we ever wanted to know about Jesus will be crystal to us, but just as His Word is living and provides revelation to us constantly, I also believe that our knowing Him as He knows us is going to be an integral part of why we will be praising Him all of eternity.

That revelation is living and will be overwhelming from the start, but it will continue to be received throughout our existence in eternity simply by merit of its voluminous content.

Life Goals

These are the ones that we want to embrace with all we have in us. I say this in plural, but yet in some ways any life goal could be interlaced with additional life goals as well.

For the Disciple of Jesus Christ these life goals will not be temporal in nature.

“Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21 (CSB)

Jesus was talking about a life goal here. It’s not fully accomplished until we are done in this life. Then it becomes accomplished.

The Pharisees were trying to trip up Jesus and asked Him what was the greatest commandment. His response was…

He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37 (CSB)

A life goal which boarders on being a resolute goal as well. Discipleship is also one of those goals that could be considered a life goal or a resolute goal.  I think it serves us to treat them both as being in either category. It underscores their importance to us, and helps to keep them in our focus.

Other Goals

If our goals are focused in the temporal world then there are going to be things that serve as distractions from our life goal and those resolute goals. The ones that are the most harmful are the ones that are in opposition to any of the three we’ve discussed.

Other goals, are going to not only be temporal in nature they will also function in direct opposition to God’s will as they replace God as the center focus of our existence.

They may seem innocent enough and actually appealing by almost any standard. But when these goals come between us and our savior then they serve as being idols in our path that must be taken down.

There is only one way to have eternal life. That is to forsake the worlds temporal pleasures and establish those life goals that are in keeping with surrender to His will, commitment to follow Him, and trust in His saving blood for the remediation of our sin, which results in us being adopted into God’s family as heirs with Christ.

In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elements of the world.

When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father! ”

So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir.

Galatians 4:3-7 (CSB)

It’s another one of those resolute and life related goals, being a child of the Lord Almighty.

By identifying our goals and where they fit in, we can examine ourselves and just what we hold important and are focused on today. Alignment of our goals with those of Jesus lead us to salvation, yes. But focus our path within His will in our lives and the point where we can experience the greatest joy in our Salvation.  Becoming His Disciple and having Him as Lord of our lives.

That is ‘The Goal‘!



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