He must increase, but I must decrease.He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all- John 3:30-31 NKJV
Goals and objectives matter.
If a person has no idea what the ultimate goal or objective is in a given situation they will have a tough time hitting that goal or objective. It simply does not matter how pure a person’s intentions are or how much work they are willing to put in. If the objective is unknown, unclear or undefined in any way the odds of failure are always going to be high.
This means its mission critical all Christ followers understand what the ultimate objective of the Christian life is. If the goal is hazy or undefined in any way there is a pretty good chance the objective will not be met no matter how hard we try.
Which begs the question:
What exactly is the ultimate goal of the Christian life?
It’s not what most Christians think it is. The ultimate goal of the Christian life is not to start amazing ministries or plant huge churches. Nor is it to live a quiet Christian life or have a great family and a godly marriage (if we marry). The ultimate aim is not even to tell the world about Jesus and make disciples. All of those things are good things. Furthermore, all the above-mentioned things are things Christians are commanded to do because each one is critical to the ultimate goal in some way (Matthew 28:19-23, 1st Thessalonians 4:11, 1st Timothy 2:1-3, Ephesians 5:21-33). However, they are all essential things that must grow out of the ultimate thing or the execution of all those good things will inevitably be less than ideal.
The objective of the Christian life is: drumroll please…
To make God a big deal.
The Bible calls this “giving God glory” (Revelation 14:7, 1st Chronicles 16:8, 1st Chronicles 16:28-29, Psalm 105:1, Psalm 106:8).
Loving God and making His goodness known is the ultimate objective of the Christian life (Matthew 22:37-40, Psalm 46:10). When we get this one thing right all the other things fall into place: we live good lives, our families and marriage are a blessing, disciples are made, churches and ministries prosper and people come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
When we hit the target of the Christian life destinies and lives are transformed (Ephesians 2:1-6, 1st Peter 2:10, 1stCorinthians 6:9-11)
It’s awesome, but it’s also hard— which begs yet another question: why is giving God glory so dang hard? Making God the big deal He deserves to be is difficult partly because we’re human. Despite our status as redeemed people each and every one of us still possesses a sin nature (Romans 7:14-25). Further complicating the whole messy mess is the fact that God chooses to use our sinful selves to bring Himself glory.
Humans universally struggle with pride and a tendency towards selfish ambition. It’s kind of our thing. Even the good things we do for the kingdom like raising a family, leading a small group, teaching a class, or building a ministry can create opportunities for pride, self-promotion and selfish ambition to become entangled in our efforts to glorify God (Hebrews 12:1). This is a huge problem in a culture like ours where elevating and promoting self has become a celebrated aim rather than a source of shame as it was in previous generations (Philippians2:3).
There are all sorts of things that are impossible with man that are possible with God. Furthermore, God is always rooting for us to do more than we even think we can do (Matthew 19:26, Ephesians 3:20-21). It’s easier to glorify God once we’ve made a commitment to three things:
Living for an audience of one-
At the end of the day, (metaphorically speaking) God’s opinion of us is the only opinion that matters. Period. God and God alone will be the judge and jury of our actions, motivations and attitudes (2nd Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 10:30). When we choose to keep this reality at the forefront of our minds, it’s a gamechanger. All of a sudden selfish-ambition feels as silly it really is and we totally get that pride is the ultimate foolishness. This makes living a life that glorifies God and God alone a lot easier and much more appealing.
Staying tuned into the condition of our hearts-
I will say it again: the human heart is naturally predisposed to egotism, corruption, self-promotion and wandering (Jeremiah 17:9-10, 1st Timothy 6:10, 2nd Peter 2:14-15, Hebrews 10:26). The closer tabs we keep on the state of our hearts the less likely we are to fall prey to our baser instincts as well as the schemes of the enemy (Ephesians 6:11, 1st Peter 5:8)
We have to remember we’re playing a spiritual long game. I have no idea what the other side of eternity is going to be like. No one really does. That being said, I do know that most of what we do in this life FEELS like it’s of critical importance but most of its kind of stupid and incredibly pointless. All of our little schemes and strategies to make money, build empires and make people think we are more important than we really are is the ultimate waste of our time and talents (Luke 12:13-21,). This life is not about finding ways to turn ourselves into a big deal. It’s about making God a big deal. Meeting that objective prepares for the next life. When we choose to put our energy into the ultimate objective we are promised it will pay off in a really big way (Matthew 25:14-28).