Yes, I’m still on the topic of setting goals in the new year. I know that not everyone is convinced that goals are a worthy aspiration. I think that at some point or another everyone has at least tried set some type of goal another. Truth being that goals and or resolutions are extremely hard to keep. Sometimes after failure to attain any consistency in keeping goals, people completely throw in the towel and figure what’s the use, because they are left feeling like a complete failure, and who wants anything to do with that?
Last weekend at church, we were given a challenge by our pastor. During the message the question was posed to us, “What ONE thing will you do in 2014 that will make the biggest difference in your life one year from now?” Since I had already been thinking about goals for this new year, this question really challenged me because I had already had a whole list going in my head and coming up with just ONE thing was a bit troubling to me.
I had to take this home and chew on it a bit in order to come up with my one thing. I had to start thinking if I only had one goal, what should that one goal be? I prayed and asked God to help show me and then I remembered a scripture that I had posted on my Facebook page on the last day of the year. After listing out all of what Love is in 1 Corinthians 13, in chapter 14 verse 1 Paul goes on to say, “Let Love be your highest goal!” That was it, right there, love needs to be my highest goal.
Now that would seem to be a lofty goal for most of us. I know it is something that God challenges me with daily as I try to walk out my faith in life. 1 John 4:7-13 states it like this . . .Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
The bible is God’s incredible love story for us. God didn’t need us, but he desired us and desired a relationship with us. Even after we failed him, he made a way for us to be made right with him by sending his son to die for us. This was the ultimate act of love, God’s sacrificial love for us.
We put feet to the heart of Jesus when we love others with the love of Christ. This is supposed to be the evidence of our faith. Is it always easy? Absolutely not, especially when people act in ways that are hurtful or unloving towards us. The bible says that when we only love those who love us, what good is that? God tells us to even love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. This is the kind of love God demonstrated for us and the kind of love he wants us to share with others.
To love as God loves is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. In and of ourselves this is something we are incapable of, because it goes against our natural inclinations. With the power of Holy Spirit as our helper and guide, we can pray and ask God to fill us with his love so that we may in turn love others as he does regardless of the circumstances. We need to “put on the love of Christ.” This means it is something we must choose to do daily as we walk in the spirit.
In the Gospel of Matthew in the 22 chapter beginning in verse 34, the Pharisees began questioning Jesus and one of them, an expert in the law, tested Jesus with this question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
When we live to make loving God and loving others our highest goal, we fulfill all the other (laws) commandments because when we choose to love, we are choosing to be selfless, putting others well-being above our own. As we pray for God to fill us with his love and we practice loving others as he does, I believe it begins to transform our hearts and they begin to look a little more like his.
So as I push forward into the new year, I would pray that God helps me to make love my highest goal. I pray that God would give me his eyes and ears to see and hear the broken and hurting all around me and that he would help me to extend his love by loving as he does. And when I so often fail him and others, I am so thankful for his amazing grace that covers us. Thank you Lord Jesus for your amazing love and grace that was paid for with your precious blood. Help me to die to self, so that I live for you and help me to make loving you and others my highest goal. To you be the glory both now and forever. Amen