Over the years, I have attended and facilitated countless “goal setting” meetings and sessions. In addition, I have purposely set personal goals to lose more weight, get more sleep, save more money, and work fewer hours. All in all, identifying targets and focusing on reaching those objectives is a positive way to achieve desired results.
But at some point in my life, I realized there is only one goal that is important.
Every other mark or target should only be considered if it gets us to that one destination. Paul put it in perspective for us:
“I continue the pursuit towards the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:14 (NAB).
Paul is urging all of us to have only one target.
- To focus on it with laser-like discipline.
- To press toward it no matter what the obstacles.
- To pursue it with such a deep and passionate love that nothing can stop us.
And what is the goal he is describing?
He calls it the “prize of God’s upward calling.” That calling is a personal invitation from God to embrace his eternal salvation. God summons us, welcomes us, persuades us, and even begs us to follow Jesus to such an extent that we imitate his every thought, word, and action. When we do that, we are rewarded with the prize — that heavenly crown for Christian character that places us squarely in the presence of the Holy Trinity forever.
What about you? Were there former goals in your life that you thought were indispensable but are now totally unnecessary? Do you have things in your house you bought for happiness that you now fully ignore? Did something specific happen in your life that influenced you to reassess your priorities?
When determining our goals for work, pleasure, or personal or spiritual development, consider the following questions before making any decisions:
- How does this objective sharpen my focus on eternity with God?
- Does this target offer opportunities for me to evangelize, forgive, be compassionate, or offer encouragement?
- Will pressing towards this goal offer enrichment in my own walk with God?
- Will the activities I pursue to achieve this objective cause me to be more Christ-like or less?
Remember, the goal that matters most is a prize — a treasure. It is our response to God’s invitation in Christ Jesus, asking us to spend eternity praising, worshipping, and giving him glory as we find the joy that only his presence can bring. Press on!
About Mike Van Vranken
Mike Van Vranken, a lifelong Catholic, is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, and teacher. Following forty years of leading, coaching, and developing business owners, Mike founded Mike Van Vranken Ministries to fulfill his passion to bring Jesus to the world around him. He brings his experiences as a mentor, leader, speaker, coach, and entrepreneur to provide teaching and spiritual leadership to all who are interested. His dream is to deliver the teachings of Jesus to women and men, old and young, poor and rich, people of every background and diversity — to the entire body of Christ.
Mike is co-author of the brand new book: Faith Positive in a Negative World. In paperback and on Kindle now at amazon.com. He and Barbara, his wife of 42 years, live in Shreveport, LA. Discover more about Mike at www.mikevanvrankenministries.org as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google.