Not long ago I wrote this statement in my journal: What did the Apostle Paul know that I don’t? That was three months and the 2012 Olympics ago. Today I think I know the answer. The Apostle Paul clearly knew the goal of Christianity, as well as his own personal goal. They were the same for Paul, and that fact alone is part of our problem with goals—we have too many!
If we were to ask Gabby Douglas what goal brought her to victory in the 2012 Olympics, what do you think would be her answer? Would she tell us that she didn’t have a goal? Not likely. Would she say that her goal was to visit London? I doubt it, since anyone can buy an airline ticket to get there. Could it be that her goal was to be a celebrity? I don’t think so, because doing even senseless things can elevate a person to celebrity status. Was her goal to be on Television? Probably not. We can see people who commit heinous crimes on TV every night of the week. I doubt she would even say that her goal was to possess a gold medal—as you can likely buy a replica. While I don’t know for sure, I suspect that Gabby would say her goal was to be the best gymnast in the world! All the other things are mere by-products of reaching that goal. I dare say that had she been focused on any one of those other things, she would not have won the gold medal. I think Gabby clearly knew her goal, whatever it was, and she never strayed from it, drifted off on some lesser vision, or yielded to thoughts that it was too difficult. That is how I believe Gabby won the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
I also believe that most modern-day Christians, including me, do not have a clear idea of the true goal of Christianity. And not only do we not have a clear idea of the goal we are supposed to be striving for, I believe we have had our eyes on the wrong goal altogether. When the prosperity—live-the-good-life-now—message hit the airwaves several decades ago and Christians bought into it, we made a huge mistake. We settled on the wrong goal, and we’ve been paying the price ever since. We have actually attained some of these wrong goals. For instance, we look prosperous, alive, and busy, but we don’t look like Jesus. Why? We have the wrong goal. It seems that God has blessed us abundantly and we appear to be spiritual, but our lives are void of God’s power. Why? We have the wrong goal. We can quote scriptures about God’s promises to us, but our words don’t match the reality of our lives. Why? We have the wrong goal. There are convincing arguments for these statements in the book of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, Christ’s letters to the churches. I challenge you to read them.
If we are genuinely thirsty for the times of refreshing that come from the Lord, we must find the right fountain to drink from. Drinking from other sources simply will not quench our thirst. My feeling is that the church has been drinking from the wrong fountains for a long time, yet we are starving for the living water that Jesus spoke about. Finding that fountain of living water has everything to do with having the right goal.
Can we learn something from Gabby Douglas? I think we can. I believe it will benefit us to take a clear look at the superficial goals of the church today and then define what the right goal is for the church and for us personally. Until we have the right goal, the goal of the Apostle Paul, how can we possibly “go for the gold?” We can’t. Anyone thirsty? Stay tuned! ~Janie Kellogg