This is the time when many people set goals for the coming year: vision boards will flood Pinterest, while worldly and godless motivational quotes such as “Believe you can and you’re halfway there!” will fill Facebook’s newsfeed. However, just what are we envisioning and believing? Treasures that can be stored up in heaven (Matthew 6:20)? Or are we storing up worldly things and setting worldly goals? Goals can be good when not man-centered and not driven by selfish ambition. To ensure that we are setting God-honoring goals that have eternal value, here are some points to remember.
God is the Owner of Everything and He is in Control of Everything
God is the owner of our time, our abilities and our resources – we are merely managing these responsibilities. Since it is no longer we that live, but Christ who lives in us (Galatians 2:20), His desires need to be our desires. So, are we managing what belongs to God for His glory?
Additionally, as believers, we must remember that when things do not go as we planned, that God is still sovereign over our circumstances and our lives.
Verses to meditate upon:
- The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell within (Psalm 24:1)
- Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above (James 1:17a)
- The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9).
We Exist for God’s Pleasure
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11 KJV).
It is humbling to know that God created us for His pleasure – to be in a relationship with Him, and to worship Him through His son Jesus Christ. How wondrous it is that He involves us in His purposes! As we discern what these purposes are, what He has given us stewardship over, and what His commands are, we must submit to His will, not ours. Our ambitions must be in submission to His purposes and plans.
We’ll do well to know that the ultimate purpose for believers is to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and this includes spreading the Gospel.
Verses to meditate on:
- Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.(Proverbs 16:3)
- Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act (Psalm 37:5)
- Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
Many think the verses above mean that God will act favorably toward our plans and the desires of our heart if we commit them to Him. Instead, we are to commit our work, plans, and heart to HIS way first, and then God will favorably act. We cannot simply say, “God I’m committing my goal of buying a 4-storey mansion to You. Please establish my plans and grant me this desire of my heart.”
Look forward to future rewards!
It may feel wrong to be motivated to receive rewards; however, Scripture mentions rewards many times. As mentioned earlier, Jesus told us to “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). What are we storing up? What treasures do our hearts desire?
Verses to meditate on:
- Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)
- Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12)
- Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).
The Prayer of Jesus
Before Jesus’ death, the Son of God prayed a remarkable prayer to God the Father. In this prayer, He said, “I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do” (John 17:4). As followers of Jesus, this is a wonderful goal for us, so that by the grace of God we may hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
Have a blessed 2016 – and to God be the glory!
Hallowed be His name,