I love the mountains. There is something wild and glorious and wonderful in them. It sings to me, calls to me, speaks to a part of me that nothing else quite matches.
Nearly every photo I see of the mountains does something for my soul, simultaneously quenching and igniting a hunger. I miss the mountains when I am away from them. I crave their rugged and majestic beauty.
Yet even when I am surrounded by rocky mountain wilderness, absolutely immersed in their beauty, I still sense that something is missing. Something is still not quite as it should be.
I am homesick for a place I’ve never been.
He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]
Ecclesiastes 3:11b AMP
God has set eternity in the hearts of men. So often we are so frantically trying to fill a void that screams for attention, that we fail to give it the thought and perspective it deserves. We are not home yet.
Though we have glorious glimpses of heaven on earth, we are yet homesick for a place we have never been, a country we have yet to visit.
So, we try to fill the void, numb the homesickness, kill the desire, or drown it in business, noises, or temporary highs so that we do not notice the ache. I think more than anything, the mountains remind me of the ache, the glorious eternity God has set within my heart to draw me to Himself.
On top of having just visited family and gotten a glimpse of my mountains, the closing of a year and the dawning of a new has a way of making me exceptionally reflective and hopeful.
Looking a little deeper at common human questions, the holiness of the void and our attempts to fill it is vital for soul health, for growth, for LIFE. But like pretty much everything, the enemy of our souls takes a good, God thing and perverts it.
There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.
When we can examine our lives and hearts in the context of God’s original design and His word, we can bring clarity to the distortion and light to the shadows.
Take for example our quest for improvement. New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone filled with brand new hope for the new year.
The longing for growth is holy.
The Bible speaks again and again of sanctification.
Sanctification is really just a fancy word for growth, holy growth- looking more and more like Jesus than the sinner he saved.
But when the true motivation for our growth plan is comparison, unhealthy competition, or to earn love, we fall prey to the deception of the enemy - that our worth is based on our achievements.
Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:3b-5 NIV
The truth of the matter is, we were priceless while we were yet enemies of God. He loves us because He IS love, because we were created BY a love God for the purpose of fellowshipping with Him. He loved us before we had ever done a thing for Him.
So before you set a whole passel of New Year goals, take some time with God to sit down and set Holy goals, God-centered goals, the goals that He would have you working towards this year.
Here are some questions to help you start this process:
Do I know God better now than I did a year ago?
Am I honestly giving my spiritual walk the priority that it deserves?
How much time do I spend in the Word every week?
-reading my Bible for myself
How much time do I spend in the presence of God (NOT including church)?
-worship, prayer, time hanging out with God enjoying His friendship
Do the people that I spend the most time around encourage me in my relationship with God or pull me further away?
What do I spend the majority of my free time doing?
Where do my thoughts wander to by default?
What non-fiction books did I read last year?
What are my passions and God-given gifts?
What am I doing to develop my passions and God-given gifts?
Am I faithfully using the resources that I have now?
How can I schedule my time better to achieve my goals?
How am I actively serving those around me?
Are there things that I need to step away from or say “no” to for a season?
The answers to these questions are a great starting point, but let the Holy Spirit guide you here. Let Him tweak, change, and bring correction where needed. Let Him celebrate with you in the areas where you’ve had success. He’ll show you exactly what goals to focus on and what steps to take to achieve them.
What about you? What areas is God leading you to focus on this year?
Have you been a good Goal Achiever in the past? If so, what worked for you? We wanna hear!