Life today is very busy, and each day does not seem to get any slower, only faster. Weeks go flying by and things that we plan to accomplish often do not happen. There just never seems to be enough time. Like most people, I have many goals for my life. When I was younger my goal was to make it through college and become an engineer. As I have become older and reached some of those goals, I have made different ones to reach, but none of them are ever reached without personal effort. Sometimes these goals can consume much time, and we must be careful not to become so absorbed and so busy that we forget the most important things in life. Jesus told a parable of a sower who went out to sow seed (Matthew 13:3). Some of the seed fell among thorns and were choked out (verse 7). That can also happen with our important goals; they can be choked out by the cares of this life.
“Success in any line demands a definite aim. He who would achieve true success in life must keep steadily in view the aim worthy of his endeavor. Such an aim is set before the youth of today. The heaven-appointed purpose of giving the gospel to the world in this generation is the noblest that can appeal to any human being. It opens a field of effort to everyone whose heart Christ has touched.” Education, 262.
Human examples of people who reach goals
Olympics – For Michael Phelps to reach his Olympic swimming goals he had to do some work. Firstly, he had to think about his diet and make sure that he ate enough to make up for the amount of physical exertion from swimming. Secondly, he had to have a workout plan. As well as practicing his different swimming strokes, he lifted weights and had a whole training program, especially tailored for his swimming goals.
Those who have high goals go to great lengths to achieve them. Their whole life is centered around it, and they are totally focused on the prize before them.
“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.” – Og Mandino quotes (American Essayist and Psychologist, 1923-1996).< http:thinkexist.com> December 2010.
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo quotes (Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet, considered the creator of the Renaissance, 1475–1564). Ibid.
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” – Thomas Jefferson quotes American Third United States President (1801-09). Author of the Declaration of Independence (1762–1826). Ibid.
“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Abraham Lincoln.
“You’ll fail at a 100 percent of the goals you don’t set.” – Mark Victor Hansen.
“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. … It’s as simple as that.” – Earl Nightingale quotes (United States motivational writer and author, 1921–1989).
My question for Christians
What is our goal? What is the single most important thing that we should be reaching for? The apostle Paul talked about his own life that according to outward appearance he was a good person keeping the law. But he said he counted all these things as loss for Christ. What he really needed was to know Christ; not have an outward observance of the law, but have Christ and His righteousness because all our righteousness is as filthy rages. He wanted to know Christ. He said not that he was already perfect, but he pressed on that he might lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of for him. Paul pressed on toward the goal of perfection, to reflect Christ’s character, to be ready for heaven. He said that he once just kept the law outwardly, but that was not righteousness. Only Christ can provide the righteousness. (See Philippians 3:1–16.)
The Christian’s goal is to seek first the kingdom of God, and all other things will be provided. First, let us define what heaven is. Heaven is more than just a place, even though there is a place called heaven.
“Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, ‘Love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.” The Desire of Ages, 641.
Before we are ready to go to heaven, we have to have heaven in our hearts.
How are we going to reach the goal?
Generally, humans have to focus on one thing at a time to reach their goal. If you want to become a physician, you would not go to a mechanic school. At the same time you cannot become a physician in just one day. It would be impossible to take all the training necessary to be a physician in one day, one month, or even one year. Much study, time and effort are needed before taking the examinations to reach that goal. Goals are only reached by taking one step at a time.
Heaven Our Goal
If heaven is our goal, what are some steps that we can take that will help us reach that goal? What can we do today to help us be ready to live in the holy atmosphere of heaven?
The most important things that we can do to help us be ready is to spend time with God every day, in prayer and Bible study. After that, ask yourself, What am I doing today to help reach the goal of the Christian—heaven? It will certainly be different things for each of us. There may be some things that we need to do to help others. Maybe there is some sin that needs to be overcome with God’s help.
If heaven is our goal it must be foremost on our mind, thinking about it every day because no goal is ever reached without effort or thought. No one wins a race by not thinking about it. I Corinthians 9:24–27; Matthew 13:44–46. With all of the cares in this life it is necessary to prioritize and make sure that time is set aside for the most important goal.
What is Heaven like?
1 Corinthians 2:9 – eye has not seen
Isaiah 11:6–9 – no hurt in God’s holy mountain
Isaiah 25:8, 9 – no death or tears
Isaiah 33:17, 24 – see the king; not say I am sick
Isaiah 35:5–10 – no sickness or sorrow
Isaiah 51:11 – come to Zion with singing
Isaiah 65:17–25 – new heaven and new earth, not hurt
Heaven is a worthy goal! It is a wonderful place. There is no sadness or hurt there. If we are planning on being there we must first have heaven in our hearts here on earth. If it is a desirable place to be, then we must be desirable people to be around. If people find us odious, maybe we need to ask God to help us, so people will start saying that it is like heaven to be in our presence.
“Make the home life as nearly as possible like heaven. Let the members of the family forget not, as they gather round the family altar, to pray for the men in positions of responsibility in God’s work.” Child Guidance, 548.
What is Jesus’ Goal for Us?
“The religion of Christ never degrades the receiver; it never makes him coarse or rough, discourteous or self-important, passionate or hardhearted. On the contrary, it refines the taste, sanctifies the judgment, and purifies and ennobles the thoughts, bringing them into captivity to Christ. God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. He has given in His holy law a transcript of His character.
“The ideal of Christian character is Christlikeness. There is opened before us a path of constant advancement. We have an object to gain, a standard to reach, that includes everything good and pure and noble and elevated. There should be continual striving and constant progress onward and upward toward perfection of character.
“We shall be individually, for time and eternity, what our habits make us. The lives of those who form right habits, and are faithful in the performance of every duty, will be as shining lights, shedding bright beams upon the pathway of others; but if habits of unfaithfulness are indulged, if lax, indolent, neglectful habits are allowed to strengthen, a cloud darker than midnight will settle on the prospects in this life and forever debar the individual from the future life.” Counsels for the Church, 78, 79.
“You may reach God’s ideal if you will resolve that self shall not be woven into your work. To know that you are striving in spirit and in works to be Christlike, will give you strength and comfort and courage. It is your privilege to become meek and lowly in heart; then angels of God will co-operate with you in your revival efforts. Christ died that His life might be lived in you, and in all who make Him their example. In the strength of your Redeemer you can reveal the character of Christ, and you can work in wisdom and in power to make the crooked places straight.” Gospel Workers, 164.
“Earnestly and untiringly we are to strive to reach God’s ideal for us. Not as a penance are we to do this, but as the only means of gaining true happiness. The only way to gain peace and joy is to have a living connection with Him who gave His life for us, who died that we might live, and who lives to unite His power with the efforts of those who are striving to overcome.
“Holiness is constant agreement with God. Shall we not strive to be that which Christ so greatly desires us to be—Christians in deed and in truth—that the world may see in our lives a revelation of the saving power of truth? This world is our preparatory school. While here we shall meet with trials and difficulties. Continually the enemy of God will seek to draw us away from our allegiance. But while we cleave to Him who gave Himself for us we are safe.” In Heavenly Places, 33.
“I urge you to turn your thoughts from worldly things and center them on the things of eternity. Christ has placed everlasting life within your reach, and He has promised to give you help in every time of need. … We should never rest satisfied with present attainments. If we put mind and heart into the work of reaching God’s ideal for us, if we go to Christ, the mighty helper, for aid, He will give us the very assistance that we need. He will bestow on us the very power that will enable us to be victorious in the struggle against evil.” Ibid., 355.
“The power of a higher, purer, nobler life is our great need. The world has too much of our thought, and the kingdom of heaven too little.
“In his efforts to reach God’s ideal for him, the Christian is to despair of nothing. Moral and spiritual perfection, through the grace and power of Christ, is promised to all. Jesus is the source of power, the fountain of life. He brings us to His word, and from the tree of life presents to us leaves for the healing of sin-sick souls. He leads us to the throne of God, and puts into our mouth a prayer through which we are brought into close contact with Himself. In our behalf He sets in operation the all-powerful agencies of heaven. At every step we touch His living power.
“God fixes no limit to the advancement of those who desire to be ‘filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.’ Through prayer, through watchfulness, through growth in knowledge and understanding, they are to be ‘strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power.’ Thus they are prepared to work for others. It is the Saviour’s purpose that human beings, purified and sanctified, shall be His helping hand. For this great privilege let us give thanks to Him who ‘hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son’ [Colossians 1:9, 11–13].” The Acts of the Apostles, 478. [All emphasis supplied.]
Jesus’ goal for us is to be one with Him (John 17:18-26); to be so much in love with Him that we are like Him in character; to spend so much time with Him that He will know without a doubt that we never want to be separated from Him, but desire to be with Him in heaven forever.
Recently, as I was driving and listening to a Christian radio station, I heard a man share some of his story. He spoke of his parents how, as he was growing up, they never showed any affection for each other. He said he was certain that they loved each other, but he never saw any evidence of affection. When he met his future wife, she was a very outgoing, caring person who loved people, and it was she who really showed him true love. After they married, they went as missionaries to a foreign land and on their return to the United States of America he was offered the position of president at a Christian college. His wife helped him on campus by counseling people, doing a radio program, and entertaining people in their home. While they were at the college, he noticed that his wife started to become forgetful, which she had never been before. They soon discovered that at fifty-five years old she had developed Alzheimer’s. The disease progressed to the point where his wife needed full-time care, so he quit his position at the college and stayed home to take care of his wife. They would go on daily walks together until she was physically unable to do that. She had not spoken to him for a full year, and then one day, on Valentine’s Day, he said to his wife, “I love you!” She responded to those words as he went over to her bed and gave her a big hug. That was the last day she ever said a word. He took care of his wife for 15 years before she died. He said, “I loved her so much! The hard thing was that she could not respond to my love, but I loved her anyway.” Every day he was there showering his love on her and caring for her, though she could not respond.
Every day Jesus is here showering us with His love, taking care of us, waiting to see if we will respond in some way to His love. But sometimes all we do is complain when we think that His care hurts us because we are going through a bad experience.
God waits for us to respond to His love, to trust Him that He is working all things out for our good. He gives and gives to us, and then He waits patiently for a response. He wants us to love Him back and be one with Him. Just the thought that God wants to have the same relationship with me that He shares with His Son is beyond what I can take in and sends shivers down my body.
Doesn’t that make you want to have that same relationship with God? Is that a goal you would desire to reach? What are you doing about it? Are you reaching out every day to the goal God has for you? If not, why not start today? Jesus wants us to be one with Him just as He is one with the Father. He is showering His love on each of us right now and waiting for our response. Don’t keep Him waiting any longer!
Jana Grosboll, a network engineer, lives in Derby, Kansas.