If I were to ask you, as a believer in the Lord Jesus, “What are your goals for your relationship with God?”, what would you say? I wonder if your response might be like my initial thought. “Goals? I am certain that God has goals for me, but I’m not entirely sure it is appropriate for me to set goals for my relationship with God through Christ. After all, He is the One calling the shots in this relationship, not me.” The question, by its very nature, implies that we are wanting or desiring something from God in a way that we intuitively aren’t sure we should want or desire. To frame our relationship with God in such a goal-oriented way seems to imply that God is serving us in the Gospel rather than us serving Him. The very notion of a goal orientation to our relationship with Jesus seems too pragmatic. Doesn’t speaking of our relationship with Jesus in terms of goals subtly strip away the mystery bound up in the reality that sinners, enemies of God, can be rescued from sin and reconciled to the Holy One through a bloody instrument of torture and death on which the Son of God was crucified?

In actuality, asking yourself, “What is the purpose(goal) of my redemption in Christ” isn’t such a bad question after all. It is a clarifying question that gives shape and priority to the way that we live our lives. We give priority to those things in our lives that are of first importance to us. How important is nurturing your relationship with Jesus Christ? What does your schedule reveal about how important your time spent with Him is? Is your “goal” in your relationship with God heaven? Security? Blessing? Or is it something more, something real and substantial. Is it something life-changing? This isn’t to say that heaven, security or blessing aren’t real, because they are. However, if these are the goal rather than knowing and loving God for who he is alone, then we don’t really love the God; we only love His gifts.

C.J. Mahaney has been blogging recently about the subject of “Goals” and states that we essentially should have two goals for our relationship with Jesus: 1) Communion with God; and 2) Participation in the Body of Christ (the local church). C.J. writes:

Our communion with God can often remain a vague “should do” in our minds that—if we’re honest with ourselves—often takes less of a priority in our schedules than that important Wednesday lunch meeting with a colleague.

The consequence of neglecting a personal goal is nowhere more serious than when we neglect God and neglect our own souls. Scripture sternly cautions us to enforce all diligence over our hearts: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23, ESV). We must study our hearts. We must monitor the condition of our hearts. We must work by the grace of God to employ the spiritual disciplines to keep our hearts with all vigilance.

And ultimately we must look outward and upward, surveying the wondrous cross and the Savior who died there for us. The Father’s wrath against all our sins has been satisfied. We must never lose sight of Calvary. And the spiritual disciplines help us daily focus our gaze on the Savior.

And in response to our daily communion with God, we should be eager to serve His Body: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:9-10). We can explore how well we are serving our local church by asking ourselves the following questions:

  1. When and how am I intentionally serving those around me? This week? This month? This year?
  2. When and how do I care specifically for those closest to me in the church? This week? This month? This year?
  3. When and how do I pray for and support my pastors? This week? This month? This year?

So, what are your goals in Jesus?