The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart from generation to generation. Psalms 33:11(CSB)
Setting Goals – Jan. 2nd, 2019
The councel of the Lord standeth forever!
We are starting a new year. The festivities are over and now we consider what lay ahead. The one thing that we can be sure of is that while we are in constant flux, our Lord is the same today as he was from the beginning. God is the same today as he will be at the end of time as we know it and throughout eternity!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by food regulations, since those who observe them have not benefited.
Hebrews 13:8-9 (CSB)
Maybe that last part of the verse sounds a bit out there. It’s not really. See the discussion of ‘food’ was one of the roaring debates in the early church.
Jewish law specified what was food which was ‘clean’ and that which was ‘unclean’.
Jesus didn’t abolish the law, he fulfilled it! Because, he satisfied the law. God didn’t change, Jesus simply satisfied the requirements for us so that despite us being unclean by standards of the law, we could be cleansed, purified, made holy in the eyes of God by the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ!
“Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18 (CSB)
Because of these two extremely important facts; God doesn’t change, and Jesus has cleared the way for us to be acceptable to God, because he has satisfied our requirements to be holy and acceptable to the Father; we are free to serve Christ in the manner in which he calls us to.
So, here we sit. January 2nd and considering our goals for the year and if we are honest with ourselves our time remaining here in this world. What we have done in the past is irrelevant if we have been covered by the grace of Jesus, we have the freedom to be the people he calls us to be.
We want to be ‘those people’ because we love him. And of course, he told us…
“If you love me, you will keep my commands.”
John 14:15 (CSB)
If we are his, we love him; if we love him, we will want to keep his commands. It’s that simple being his disciple.
Woah! What are you signing me up for Kip?
Remember that loving him thing a few lines back? I didn’t sign you up, you signed yourself up. Now first and foremost goal of this new year would be to fulfill that obligation, to the best of our ability. To get there, we have to be obedient to what he commands us. We must be obedient to the leading of the ‘the Comforter’ who he sent to guide us when he ascended into heaven to prepare that home for us which he said he was going to make up for us to live with him forever.
Okay, so we have our first goal. It’s a big goal really. The forgiving thing about this goal of obedience is that it is incremental.
What do I mean about obedience being incremental?
It is fairly straight forward really. We just don’t get all that Jesus commands us. Sure, we have some very obvious things that about any new Christian understands they ‘should’ be doing or ‘not’ be doing. We get that! But we don’t know the details, the intricacies of what he’s told us. He left us the Holy Spirit to teach us these things and help us on our path to obedience.
Therefore, obedience is a long-term goal. Not that we can or should be despicable believers, eventually growing in to more and more obedient disciples. No, we understand a subset of things that we can and should focus on immediately.
With but a few verses we can find a few things that we likely continue to work on our entire time on this planet. Try loving as Christ loves us or forgiving as he has forgiven us!
That love and forgiveness goes beyond our friends, neighbors, and family; it includes those that we don’t’ like and don’t like us. Not something we can knock out in a year, or for that matter completely in several years. We get incrementally more proficient loving and forgiving as we come to a better understanding of the love and forgiveness we are blessed with.
This is a good start, but if we are going to be obedient then we have one more goal which is also a long term goal that we should be focused on as we work on this love and forgiveness thing.
If we truly love others, we don’t’ want them to suffer. We don’t want them to die in sin and face eternity separated from their Creator.
This goal was given to us just before Jesus returned to heaven to prepare that place for us that he spoke of.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (CSB)
Very simply, Jesus calls us to be his disciples and disciple makers. Go he says. Get out there and spread the Good News! Jesus came so that humanity no longer is condemned to exists outside the grace Jesus brought to us. It is great news!
Christ put the task (goal) to us, to spread this message to the world, one person reaching out to another, and another, and yet another. And subsequently those people, reaching out to more people. Until the entire world has been reached come to know that Jesus came and paid their debt and they too can be free.
So, what this all comes down to is this. Each and every believer has three goals for this year and every year forward. We may come up with a few more, and the Holy Spirit may clue us in on even more, but these three are solid. Can’t get around em, wouldn’t want to.
- Be obedient to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
- Grow to be a better disciple of Jesus, every day.
- Go and make more disciples!
Sums up a great start for a new year, every year for that matter. Now, Go!