It’s a new year, which means gyms will be more crowded than usual (for a few weeks), cigarette sales will be lower than usual (for a few weeks), and more people will start following a budget (for a few weeks). I Googled the top ten new years resolutions, and those three were in there…
So while many people make goals they do not keep each new year (we have to be intentional with our goals to keep them, we can’t just think about how nice they are!), most of us at least take some amount of time to reflect on how certain things went or happened in 2012. And as always, we want to become “better people” in 2013 or at least try to improve on something in our life that we want to be or do better in.
These are good things, but often all of our goals and resolutions are futile in the end. Why? Because while so many of us want to improve as people, we don’t have a big picture end goal. Year after year goals are made to be healthier or be more loving or be more generous or get better at something, but for what?
To feel better about ourselves and have a high self-esteem? I think we all know that even if we attain our 2013 goals, there will be something else that causes us to be unsatisfied with ourselves. Do we make goals to so that we can impress others in some way? Again, even if we achieve our goals there will be something else to work on. Or maybe we make goals to be better morally so that our “good” can somehow outweigh our “bad.” Maybe we can impress God enough to make it into heaven?
Whatever the reason, from an eternal perspective, what are your goals really accomplishing? “Becoming a better person” will not matter 100 years from now. Loving and helping people will matter, but our reasons for doing so must be more than simply us feeling good about ourselves.
In Philippians chapter 3 Paul writes about his goal of knowing and becoming more like Christ.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own…I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:12, 14
That goal has eternal and lasting implications. What you do with Jesus will matter in 100 years.
What matters most then is not your specific goals, but why you are choosing your specific goals. If we want to “love and spend more time with your family” (another Google top 10), why do we want to do that? If it is because we think it will make us more satisfied with our life, we will find that accomplishing this goal will still leave us wanting more in the end.
Now I’m not trying to knock anyone’s goals, but if we make goals without ultimately knowing where true satisfaction can come from, we end the year much the same as we started it, still thinking if we change that one more thing life would be so much better.
Want to be more satisfied in 2013? Make it your goal to know more of and become more like Christ. If we can do that, our satisfaction will not depend on the resolutions many of us won’t keep. Instead, our satisfaction will depend on the only one who can ultimately satisfy in the first place.
Sounds like a good goal to me.