An Attainable Goal

Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Phil 3:12-14

As the new year comes in, we often try to make some humorous and often unattainable goals like:  1) Try and drive at or under the speed limit least when I'm not hungry, tired or late. 2) Stop repeating myself again, and again, and again. 3) Stop procrastinating ...I think I just might start next month. 4) Drive myself to the fitness center from now on...because walking there makes me perspire. All of us have had some failed attempts at certain goals for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes we are pretty dedicated for a while and then we fizzle out before half the year is through. Guilt often sets in and then we are driven even further from our goal. We fall back into our pre-goal pattern and sometimes even more so.

I like what Paul says in the verses above regarding goals. First, he knows that the goal is not yet reached. He has not attained perfection (and neither have we).  Yet, he knows that Christ has laid hold of him. Jesus initiated the relationship and gave him a promise—an eternal, heavenly promise, which includes being united with Him in heaven and made mature and complete.

Second, Paul says that he strives and reaches for the heavenly prize in Christ. Our goal is to mature and be like Jesus.  You may ask, “What is the motivating factor to become like Him? Aren’t we going to just fail and it will be like any other goal that we’ve set in life?” One of the things Paul says is that the call Christ gives to us is from Him and it is eternal.

If someone offered you 5 million dollars if you lost 15 pounds in a month, you’d probably lose that amount in short order. If we are that motivated by money, how much more incentive is there for an eternal reward where there is absence of sin, pain, sorrow, and grief and you’re surrounded by beauty, reunited with other believers in Christ, and greatest of all: being in the presence and glory of Christ Jesus Himself!

The goal we strive for is not done in our own power but in the power of Christ through His Holy Spirit. When we place our faith in Him, He gives to us His promised Holy Spirit. His Spirit works within us to give us strength to live for Him and become more like Him. The most wonderful thing about this goal is that Jesus initiates the relationship and gives us the power to attain the goal.  The prize is of infinite value.

May this year be full of growth and maturity in Christ, knowing that we have a high calling.  He is behind us all the way. May God give you strength as you grow in Him and shine His light this year!
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Mark Anderson