As I write this, it is mid-October. Most would think this a bit early to start thinking about goals for the next year, but I start the process every year around this time. If you’re kind, you may think me an over-achiever, but I’m guessing most will probably see me as somewhat neurotic and obsessive! Regardless, I’ll bet you’re wondering what any of this has to do with following Jesus.
The truth is I had an epiphany as I began to think about my goals for the next year. Every time I set goals, they are centered on what I want to accomplish. Yes, I do set spiritual goals, but traditionally those have been just one slice of the goals I set. It suddenly occurred to me the only goals that matter are the ones concerning Christ and not me.
As an American, I live in a culture steeped in climbing the corporate ladder and getting ahead. We celebrate celebrity and success. We are also a people who are obsessively self-reliant. These may not look like bad things on the surface, but they produce a lifestyle contradictory to a disciple of Jesus. We are to be totally reliant on him. It is through our weakness He is best magnified. Finding any measure of success or celebrity, regardless of how much we cloak it in humility, generally leads to a glorification of self and not Jesus.
When thinking about the future, our only concern should be about building God’s Kingdom. Nothing else matters. No matter what I may or may not achieve, it is all irrelevant if it is not done in His name and for His purposes. This should fundamentally and radically change how we set goals and what sort of resolutions we make for the upcoming year. Every ambition or endeavor must pass the test of whether or not it will build up the Kingdom. It must glorify Jesus. What good is it to gain the whole world, to reach every goal I’ve ever set, yet lose everything because I neglected Jesus along the way (Mark 8:36)? Everything I do that does not glorify God is useless, wasted, and worthless (Philippians 3:8).
If you are a follower of Jesus, your goals and resolutions should look different this year. Imagine what you might accomplish for the Kingdom if that was your entire focus. No more climbing the ladder of success, no more elevating and improving yourself for the sake of appearance and prestige. Next year can be different. Next year can finally be that breakthrough in your relationship with God. If you have truly committed your life to Christ, then you must totally commit your goals, dreams, and plans to Him as well. Your life is His, not just in word and not just at this moment; you are His eternally – for today, and every day that follows it.
You don’t have to wait for next year. You can begin right now. Throw away everything you’ve planned for yourself and give it all to Jesus. In the end, He is all that matters. He is all you need. Trust me; you will never be sorry and He will never let you down.