The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever! (John Piper’s version of the Westminster Shorter Catechism)
What is the goal of the Christian life? John 17:3 says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” The Goal is to know God. The Christian is brought into relationship with God now and for the rest of eternity. The goal of the Christian life is not knowledge, though knowledge is important. We are to use our minds to love God! The goal of the Christian life is not happiness or comfort but as the Apostle says in Philippians, “that I may know Him …” (Philippians 3:10). Knowing God personally and experientially is the foundation of everything else. What we do must flow out of being in relationship with Him!
Even though I know this in my head, I find that I struggle with it in my daily experience. I tend to be a doer and not a be-er (not a real word in the English, but you get the idea). We can learn much from the two sisters, Mary and Martha. Both of these women were friends to Jesus and we can learn much from both. One lesson we learn is this: We must never disdain/put down serving to exalt listening; and we must never disdain doing to exalt being. Both are necessary. This is a lesson of priority: Doing comes from being. Being in relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is above all, and out of this relationship we do. Jesus demonstrated this and modeled this to His disciples during His earthly ministry. He modeled the need to be with the Father, to hear from the Father and then to act with the Father.
I have a brief exercise I do when I am doing leader training. I write on a white board this statement: “I am doing my work for the Lord.” And then I ask, “Is this a biblical statement? The attendees all respond with a strong, “Yes!” This is true, for we are to do our work heartily for the Lord (Colossians 3:23). But then I write another sentence: I am doing my work with the Lord.” I then ask, “Is this a biblical statement? The attendees all respond with a strong, “Yes.” And this is true, for Paul says in 1Corinthians 3:9, “we are God’s fellow-workers…” (Italics mine). And in 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul says, “Working together with Him …”
My question then is, “Is there a difference in these two statements?” The answer is, “Of course, these two sentences have different meanings.” So, which one is correct? The first statement implies that God gives each one of us assignments and then we go out and do, and at the end of the day or at the end of our life, we give an account to Him of all that we did for Him. The second statement suggests that we are in partnership and in relationship with Him as we do His work.
The difference is titanic or enormous. I often find myself living out the first at the expense of the second and I end up weary and heavy-laden. Here is what I discovered: Both statements are good and true. The first statement has to do with our life purpose while the second statement is how we fulfill the first. I am learning to fulfill “I am working for the Lord” by “working with the Lord.”
Therefore, we must be vigilant and careful how we live and build our ministry. It must be built upon the foundation of a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11). Is the way you are pursuing your life helping you in growing in your relationship with Jesus? What does this mean to you – to have a relationship with God? What are you doing that deepens your relationship with Him? How do you experience God? What do you need to do or re-do to deepen your walk with God?
Pause and Reflect:
- Reflect on what you have learned about God so far in your life? Name some of the things you have learned.
- Now think about several experiences in which God was with you, teaching you about Himself; be specific as you reflect on them.
- What have you learned from your relationship with God?
- Challenging Assignment: This week, get out of the traffic lanes of life, pull over, praise, pray and listen. Share with a friend or a stranger what God is teaching you about Himself.
– Doug Brown