Goals; December 14, 2020

1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

After talking about false teachers and the love of money, Paul gets to the things that he desires for Timothy. Frankly, I don’t think many people list these things when they talk about their personal goals! We are conditioned to think in terms of “bucket lists” and social and financial goals, when those things are all temporal. All the mess with the corona virus has forced a reset for a lot of people, but many are still fixated on the material. Christmas is seen as a time of getting and giving material things, when it is in fact a celebration of the gift of redemption and eternal life. Those who are anti-faith are explicitly forbidding gathering, (while ignoring their own edicts) when it is things like corporate worship and personal interaction that best bring home the true “reason for the season.” When we get our goals into line with Biblical principles, all sorts of things change. We are much freer from material lust, as well as material envy that can rot the soul. It doesn’t matter that some people are enormously wealthy if we have the greatest treasure of all, which is life in Christ. The goals Paul laid out for Timothy lead to far more happiness than taking the next step up the corporate ladder, or getting that car, or taking that vacation, or whatever.

I have never been particularly fixated on wealth, but there have certainly been physical objects I have lusted after, and I’m not free of that yet. I too need to consider what I “pursue,” or as the Japanese has it, “earnestly seek after.” Being intangible, the goals listed here can be hard to identify, actually. I’m not a very good judge of whether I have achieved them! I recognize that they are desirable, but at the same time they seem ephemeral. That’s because they are all things God needs to work in me, rather than being things I can “achieve” in my own wisdom and strength. They are matters of my reactions to things, of my yielding to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over my words, attitudes, and actions. That’s far more difficult than, say, learning to drive a car. I do know that by God’s grace I have made progress in all these areas over the course of my life. Some people look to me as an example for some of these, but I am sharply aware at times of my imperfection. My ultimate goal is indeed to hear my Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21, 23)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for what You have done in me through my gut-level reaction to the Supreme Court’s action, or rather inaction. Thank You for pointing out to me on Saturday that the message for Sunday was “God’s Plan,” and then having me say in the message that You never say, “Oh dear, what will I do?” Help me trust You indeed, never failing to do what You have for me to do, but refusing to be anxious about anything. That can be a tall order at times! As You have told me to do, help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, being faithfully obedient each step of the way, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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