Don’t Forget the Goal
Distractions. Idols. Plans. Upheavals. Worries. Illness.
I have a problem. Well, a lot of problems, but one problem in particular. In the midst of a busy semester, in the midst of pursuing entertainment, in the midst of pride and temptations to sin, in the midst of drastic changes to my schedule due to concerns about the coronavirus—in the midst of all these things, I have forgotten the main thing: Christlikeness.
Busyness has always been an obstacle to my spending time with God, but I’m finding out that having extra time can also be an obstacle. Having extra time means that I have more opportunities to live for myself, more opportunities to feed my own desires and cater to my own comfort. Having extra time means that I am more likely to avoid scheduling in time with God than ever before.
But God has so much more in store for me than what I can see right now. Right now, all I can see is an overthrown schedule and a loss of some freedom. Right now, all I can see are greater opportunities to serve and please myself. But that’s not what God sees.
When God looks at my personal choices— the poor time management decisions I’ve been making, the wasted opportunities—He sees worthless distractions that are hindering me from pursuing Him with my whole heart.
When God looks at my heart—my fears and frustrations about the future, my strong grip on pride—He sees a child who desperately needs to let go of her idols and find her shelter in Him.
When God looks at my life—my altered schedule, my canceled plans—He sees His own hand moving the pieces of my world with the ultimate goal of conforming me into the image of Jesus Christ.
God hasn’t lost sight of the goal, even though I’ve closed my eyes to it. He hasn’t stopped working, even though I’m not aware of all He’s doing. And He hasn’t stopped pursuing me, even though I’m not pursuing Him.
My plans seem so important, but in the last week I’ve seen how flexible, transient, and ultimately how inconsequential they really are. My plans are changing, but God’s plans for me to be like Jesus have not changed. He is using all these circumstances to keep changing me into the image of His Son, even though I have been completely missing out on that because I’ve been so focused on everything else going on.
Romans 8:28-29 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
God’s plans are good—every single one of them—and His ultimate plan is that I would be growing to be more and more like Jesus every day. Even though many of my plans are slipping through my fingers, being like Jesus is one plan that I must hold onto, one plan that I can’t bear to give up. Christlikeness is one plan that I need fight for. No matter the cost to my personal plans and not matter the cost to my comfort, pursuing Jesus must come first.
I just want to encourage all of you reading this to join me in refocusing on the goal. I don’t know how the last couple weeks have changed your plans; some of you may be busier than ever before while others of you have more free time. Some of you are finding in the midst of altered schedules and added worries that temptations to sin are even stronger than normal. Some of you may feel lost or overwhelmed.
No matter what’s going on in your life or what you’re especially struggling with, keep the main thing the main thing. Keep running this race with endurance. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t forget the goal.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith . . .