You have some goals for your life?
I always have. I had some personal goals in my life as a young man, and being a pastor was never one of them. But when I came to Christ at age 20, my goals all died. My singular goal became to tell everyone about the awesome grace of God, out of gratitude for what He has done through Christ. But that is not even God’s ultimate goal for me.
Then when we had children, we had some goals for them! I thought my kids were going to play for the Steelers, Penguins, and/or Pirates, while becoming the greatest evangelists in history. But that is not even God’s ultimate goal for them. I don’t even know if God is a Penguins fan, but I know He isn’t a Flyers fan. (Just kidding, my Philadelphia brothers!)
What are your goals? Land the dream job? Have the perfect house and the perfect average 2.5 kids, with the perfect dog? Is it just living a happy and quiet life? All good things, but that’s not even God’s ultimate goal for you.
God has a goal for you. And it may not be exactly what you think it is.
God has made it clear in His Word what His goal is for every follower of Christ. Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
This is known as sanctification. When Christ is living in you, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, He is changing you. Just as a baby, new physical life, grows and matures, the believer, new spiritual life, grows and matures.
But it's not a process of "getting more of Christ". We are made perfect in Him. It is discovering who we are in Him, and as a result, we get less of us!
It is as if you come to God as a hunk of marble, and He lovingly takes out His hammer and chisel and is chipping off every part of you that does not look like His Son. The image is already in there, but the Lord loves us too much to let us remain as we were when He found us!
This process can be painful, and sometimes it is during the most painful circumstances of life that God is doing the most work in us.
Whatever you are going through today, God has a goal, a purpose. Sometimes we want to throw our hands up and say, ”Why?!” The answer is always the same. God is working on you to make you the person he wants you to be - conformed into the image of His Son. That’s why the previous verse (Romans 8:28) says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
It’s all going to be good, because His purpose is glorious: to be conformed into the image of His Son!
p.s. - Getting “chiseled” isn’t about an abdominal exercise program.