When it comes to goals, we need to get it right. What we focus on is one of the key building blocks of a Christlike life. I believe the great writer Oswald Chambers had it right—the goal is God Himself—and that is the right goal for every Christian. In fact, the goal of all Christianity and its teaching should be to find God, commune with Him, and learn to abide in Him. Converts should be pointed to this truth and helped to make it a reality in their own lives. It has absolutely nothing to do with prosperity, success, power, big ministries, the size of congregations, or the mode of worship. The reason we so often get it wrong could be that the blind is leading the blind, as many Christian leaders have the wrong goals or have not experienced abiding themselves.
In our defense, there is a good reason for this great malfunction in the church. It is ironic, yet so true, that Satan has done a magnificent job of placing desirable counterfeits before our eyes to lure us away from God. It is merely a repeat of the scene in the Garden of Eden. Remember, Satan is the one who desires to be worshipped above God. He is the one who hates God with a passion, and he will do anything to keep mankind from seeking after and following God. Is it any wonder that he presents himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14)? Satan cunningly displays his counterfeits to look like the real deal and to appeal to our fallen human nature. A closer scrutiny of these widely-embraced counterfeits reveals their appeal to the flesh.
When has an imitation anything ever matched the greatness of the real thing? Never! It may look authentic and have some degree of shine and appeal, but it can never contain the matchless qualities of the real thing. So it is with Satan’s bargain deals; they will never match an intimate relationship with God the Creator. Nothing the world has to offer, even at its finest, can ever compare to the magnificence of knowing Christ in His fullness. The world can never contain the fullness of Christ, nor can our own hearts contain the fullness of Christ. As humans, we can only withstand a taste of His splendor this side of heaven, and it is given to us as a “down-payment” of what is to come (Ephesians 1:14). Dear Christian, there is so much more ahead!
We are pursued by a glorious God who desires an intimate relationship with us, yet we have chosen worldly counterfeits instead. What an insult to the Creator that He has to take second, or third, or tenth place in the lives of His very own people! Some doctrines teach that a one-time experience with God is sufficient and that one gets all of God at the point of rebirth. Those misconceptions will keep us from discovering the reality of an ever-growing relationship with God that just begins on earth and continues throughout eternity. It is like saying “I do” to a marriage partner and then going separate ways. We would quickly say that is a relationship in concept only. There is no intimacy until the two are joined together and experience daily life together. Our relationship with God is no different.
A sad result of today’s wrong-goal teaching is that believers are encouraged to seek God’s blessings rather God Himself and they end up with empty, boring, and unfulfilled spiritual lives. Continual seeking for more of God is to be an on-going part of our Christian experience, and it is a disillusioned soul or church who thinks they have it all. May God help us hunger and thirst for more of Himself!
Jesus’ promise is still true today, “For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door shall be opened” (Luke 11:10). In case you think this doesn’t work because it has failed you in the past, try applying it to the right goal and watch what happens! ~ Janie Kellogg