“The basic point is this: Christian life in the present, with its responsibilities and particular callings, is to be understood and shaped in relation to the final goal for which we have been made and redeemed. The better we understand that goal, the better we shall understand the path toward it.” ~ N. T. Wright, After You Believe
One of the tips to making life changes is to begin with the end in mind. This requires goal setting that is very specific. It also requires using your imagination. An exercise that is sometimes used is to imagine what your funeral will be like: who will attend, what will they say, and how will they feel? Then you are to consider if that is the type of life you really what to live, and if not you have to consider the changes you need to make to live the life you want to live.
Followers of Jesus need understand the final goal of our redemption. This understanding is going to effect the way we live our lives, the priorities we establish for our lives, and the way we handle the blessings of our lives. Having the proper understanding will help us live the type of lives God wants us to live.
What is the final goal of redemption?
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17; NLT)
The final goal of redemption, the reason we are freed from the chains of sin, is so we can be citizens of God’s Kingdom. Our lives right now should be focused on becoming the type of citizens God expects us to be.
We discover what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 5-7, the section of Scripture known as the Sermon on the Mount. In the Sermon on the Mount we find that God expects His people to live differently from the world, that legalistic adherence to the Law is not enough, and qualities like meekness and mercy are to be cherished.
This is what is essential to remember: We need to be intentional in making changes to our lives. We will not become citizens of God’s Kingdom by accident. To be God’s holy people requires sacrifice and discipline on our part as we surrender to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. God will transform our lives, but we need to do our part.
To start this journey of transformation I encourage your to read through the Sermon on the Mount. As you read through Jesus’ words imagine him speaking directly to you and ask yourself this question: “How am I going to respond to this teaching?” This will give you the foundation you need to begin.
Questions to Consider
- What do you consider to be the basic point of Christianity?
- Why is it important to be intentional in making changes to our lives?
- What does it mean to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom?