New Year's Resolutions
We set New Year’s resolutions because we have some picture of a better future that we hope to get closer to. We set a fitness goal because we hope to see our health improve. We set a financial goal, because perhaps we took on too much debt this past year, or didn’t have enough saved for an unexpected expense. We set a goal to simplify our life because we’ve felt to distracted lately. So we set goals based on what we want our future to look like. We picture the joy of living without credit card debt. We imagine ourselves wearing clothes that we haven’t been able to fit into for years. We love the idea of a simpler life. And so we set goals to help us get there.
But let me ask you this question, “Are you setting goals with eternity in mind?” We often don’t put much thought into why we accept certain things as good. Common sense tells us it’s good to be financially secure, in good shape, and good at our work. Certainly there are biblical precedents for doing such things. But these goals can also be taken to extremes. The man who pursues personal fitness at the expense of everything else, turns what is good into an unhealthy obsession. His religion becomes fitness. The woman who is so concerned with being financially secure, may find she is so concerned with money that she never enjoys her financial freedom. She has turned money into an unrelenting god.
Underlying these goals is what we could call an ultimate goal. Many of the goals we make serve this ultimate goal. For most it is some picture of a “good life.” But as Christians we have more to hope for. We have the picture of us as the Church reaching the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Eph 4:13) I don’t fully understand what that means, but I know it will be pretty awesome!
As you think over your goals for this next year, are you keeping eternity in mind? I mean, do you see how your goals fit into that ultimate goal–attaining the measure of the fullness of Christ? Certainly this means some of our goals should be tied to our own holiness. But other goals, say fitness should relate to this as well. For me, I find when I spend time on my bicycle I have more energy and clearer thinking. Exercise is a gift from God to help me serve him better in other areas of life. It’s the same with other goals. Are your goals an end in themselves? If so, perhaps you aren’t thinking Christianly about these goals, for we should take every thought captive to Christ. (2 Cor 10:5)
When we make goals with eternity in mind, we may be surprised at the progress we make in keeping them. Why? Because then our goals will be in line with Jesus’s goal for us. His goal is to present us before God without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish. (Eph 5:27) And when we put our goals in line with Jesus’s goals, we may end up in places we never expected, but it will be so much better than we imagined.