What is the goal of the Christian life?
I think most Christians, at least in the United States, believe that the goal of following Jesus is to get to heaven. This is the reason why we see so little transformation in the lives of Christians. We are looking towards the future rather than focusing on the present.
With this in mind consider what John wrote in 1 John 2:3-6:
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (ESV).
For those of us who follow Jesus our goal is to live the way Jesus lived. This means that our faith is about the here and now just as much as it is about the future.
We have been called to live the life of Jesus!
We haven't been called to sit in a pew on Sunday morning and attend a small group during the week. It is true that these things are important to our life of faith, but are calling is much greater. Our lives need to reflect the life of Christ into the world. We are to live with the same type of love, to proclaim the same truth, to offer the same compassion, and to live with the same passion as Jesus did. We are to live the way Jesus lived!
Could it be that one of the reasons that many of us are unsatisfied with the Christian life is because we have given our lives away to a lesser goal?
We claim to be following Jesus, but in reality the purpose of our lives are other things. In other words, we want Jesus to bless our lives as we pursue the “American Dream,” but we don't really want to follow him. Keep in mind, we are not selfish or evil, we just want a comfortable and secure life. Ultimately this is why we go to church, read the Bible, and pray. We are not seeking to live like Jesus, but hoping that God will reward us with the type of life that we want to live.
In the process we miss hearing the call of Christ. The call that insists that we lay down ANYTHING that gets in the way of following him. The call that says we must pick up a cross, the symbol of death and persecution, and follow him wherever he leads. The call that forces us to be humble and to serve those who are the least in this world.
Please understand, following Jesus isn't just about agreeing with certain theological statements about him (though that does play a part), but it is about living the type of life that he lived. This can only happen when we make the foundation of our lives the spiritual disciplines that Jesus used to stay in contact with the Father. Things like prayer, study, fasting, worship, and meditation. It continues as we serve and give with love, truth, and grace. Remember we are Christ's representatives in this world.
I know that it seems like an impossible task to live as Jesus lived in this world. You know what? It is, but remember Jesus told us what is impossible for people is possible with God. This is why the apostle Paul prayed this prayer for the Colossians:
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:9-14; ESV).
May this be our prayer, not only for ourselves, but for those around us as well. Let our goal be to live lives that are worthy of the our Lord Jesus Christ!