You Have A Goal

You have a goal.  It excites you because you envision yourself winning.  Perhaps you aim for a desired weight.  Maybe you’re going to clean out the garage which has been waiting to be done for over a year.  You might be training for the marathon to run that long distance.  Maybe you’re working out at the gym to achieve good muscle tone.  You’re going to cut out junk food and eat more salad.  You’re going to read a good book rather than watch more television.  The list of goals to be met are many.  You can taste the thrill of pursuit —  until you tire of the wait.  You want instant success.  Continued effort drags on.  You sense the dream fading.  Hope all but disappears.  Discouragement takes the place of the adrenalin rush to achieve.  You quit.  Agony.  Failure.  Misery invades a once peaceful heart.

Of course, there are many pursuits that are indeed met.  You sweat, feel the pain of the workout, spend the endless hours pursuing the dream — success!  Oh the happiness!  Then the next week arrives.  The happiness already seems a memory of long, long ago.  The adrenalin has stopped flowing.  The thrill, the elation — totally gone.  What has happened?

The wise King Solomon that we can read about in the Old Testament wrote the following concerning life’s pursuits of happiness: “Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless!  What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?  Generations come and go but the earth never changes.  The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.  The wind turns south and then turns north.  Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.”  These verses describe how monotonous life can be in spite of what we gain.

Have you ever felt this way?  Attaining what you had set your sights on, only to know vast disappointment when the ecstasy fades away.  I remember reading about Howard Hughes, one of the richest men, of times not so long ago.  He had everything he could want but he died feeling the most miserable of men.  How could this be?

My father, the late Dr. Chuck Blair, once wrote this: “It seems like man must feel his emptiness before he can partake of divine fullness.  Only God is the soul’s refuge from the meaningless of life.  When one has no hope of heaven, there is no profit in earthly labor.”  

I have known those who have no earthly wealth at all, who struggle with daily needs; yet in joy and peace, they are overflowing in riches.  Those who never pursue and attain unto the love of God, never know the fullness of joy.  Those who know their Heavenly Father, but let the affairs of this world overcome them, lose their focus on what is important.  Then they, too, drain of peace and lasting joy.

The pursuits of earth can bring a type of joy, but the pursuit of God brings riches that are literally — out of this world.

 

Knowing God’s Will

Contemplating God’s will, and trying to determine what that will is for our individual lives, is a question that comes to every Christian.  We ask things like: What job or career does God want me to pursue?  What church should I attend?  Who should I marry?  Where should I live?  Should I go to college?  Should I teach a  Sunday School class?   What does God want me to do?  How does He want me to pray?  What should I pray for concerning myself and the people I care about?  The questions continue for the whole of our lives.  We so want to get it right; stress levels can rise with worry.   We put ourselves under great pressure with thoughts that we may miss the boat of God’s choice, and land in a sea of chaos, because of our own bad decisions.  Therefore, we ask, is it really possible to know God’s will?  Does it have to be so hard?

There is good news — but not easy news,  in answer to the question of knowing God’s will.  God’s Word gives us the answer in Romans 12:2: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  There we have the answer to knowing God’s will; we must let Him change the way we think which will transform us into a new person.  What kind of a person?  A person who resembles Jesus Himself by the way he or she talks, behaves, responds to people when they are kind or unkind, and by the attitudes they maintain when trouble strikes.  When we let God transform us to be like His Son, then we begin to have the mind of Christ.  Is that even possible?  Yes.  Philippians 2:5 tells us, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ.”  Will we ever be perfect?  No, not until we get to heaven, but on earth we can certainly get better.  Like an athlete in training, the more we practice, the closer we get to our goal.  No training — no goal reached.

When we make the choice to obey God’s instruction in Romans 12:2, and ask Him to transform us in behavior and attitude, then the way we think becomes more and more like Jesus.  When our mind becomes more like Jesus, we can better determine what God’s will is for our lives.

Too many Christians, sadly, don’t want to work at living according to God’s instructions.  Too many  Christians don’t even know what God’s instructions are because they don’t want to take the time to read and study His wonderful, holy words to us.  These same Christians will be the ones to complain that God isn’t answering their prayers, or showing them what to do in various situations.

One thing for certain:  we cannot ignore God, refuse to learn about Him, and then expect to know His will for our lives.

Another thing for certain:  we can talk to Him, read about Him, meditate on His instructions, and fully expect to know His will for our lives.

It’s not easy, but it’s wonderful and exciting.  It’s a lifelong adventure.  There’s no joy to compare.  I encourage each of us: determine to pursue God; then His will for your life will unfold as you go along the way.