Can a line be traced from your life to the fame of God’s Name, the coming of God’s Kingdom and the doing of God’s Will — on earth as it is in heaven?
- Are you pursuing business? Good!
- Athletics? Good!
- Marriage and family? Good!
But will you settle for any of these in a way that disconnects from God’s name, kingdom and will? All too easily, we default to life built for our names, our kingdoms and our wills! And, in the end, it always turns out to be a little life shrinking into a final kind of meaninglessness. We were meant for so much more!
Is it possible to have life-goals that are good without being great?
- A good business has goals. A great business stretches goals into eternity.
- A good marriage has goals. A great marriage (as God intended) has more than horizontal goals; it reaches vertically into eternity.
- A good athlete has goals. A great athlete wants his goals to matter for eternal good!
Have you settled for too little?
When people admit to being frustrated, discontent, anxious and angry. When they express overall dislike of themselves and their lives, I respond by saying,
“I am sure you must have a wrong view of yourself, but the reason you feel as you do is because YOU matter to YOU a whole lot!”
The things that frustrate us, that make us anxious and angry are deeply connected with our most cherished values. More often than not, when we experience these emotions, it should alert us to the danger of settling for far less than God’s intended.
Think about it
“You” is not a big enough thing to live for when (to use Augustine’s line), “God made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Him!” We were made “by Him (Christ) and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). When we live for anything less, we shouldn’t be too surprised that we feel unsatisfied.
I realize that life is a daily routine filled with mundane and demanding things. I also know that we too easily fall into patterns of living that fail to reach with intention into eternity. When we attach our hearts to mundane goals and ambitions, we tend to settle and sour. We were made for more! (Did I say that already?)
Send a memo to your heart
“You were made for more than a sorry little life of self-absorption! Don’t settle; reach!
- “And He (Jesus) died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (II Corinthians 5:15). Repeat it often: “No longer for me but for Him.” (See: Galatians 2:20)
- “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).
- “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
- “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31)
An ancient and evil strategy:
With brilliant imagery, C. S. Lewis, pictured a senior demon instructing a junior demon about the delicate use of pleasure as a weapon against God’s people:
“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s [God’s] ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is [God’s] invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever-increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula…. To get the man’s soul and give NOTHING in return–that is what really gladdens [Satan’s] heart.” (C. S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters)
- Our problem: We live for small ambitions that shrink us and rob the identity, meaning and joy intended for us by God and provided for us in the gospel.
- Our vocabulary of Security, Identity and Mission reflects our little lives and empty relationships.
- Our hearts must attach to something greater…something beyond this life! We were made for more than small lives lived for self!
- Our goals in this life must reach into eternity by anchoring to God’s name, kingdom, and will.
- The great danger might be that I will live for too little when God intends to enlarge my expectations by shaping them around something greater than my life.