What goals do you have? We all have things we look forward to accomplishing. We have specific things we are working for, such as getting to work on time, getting a new job, getting an A in a class assignment, or sometimes even just getting through the day in one piece.
Goals are good. They keep our activities in perspective. They keep us on track.
Personal goals are fine, but we should also consider others in our goal-making. Christians should have desires and goals when we interact with others, so that what we do has some direction and purpose. As Christians, we are called by Christ to manifest the glory of God in all that we say and do. Jesus said “…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) This means we do what brings God glory in our interactions with others, such as acts of kindness, displays of mercy, or telling others of God’s forgiveness in the Person of Jesus Christ.
But, while we may not normally think of it in such a way, we should also have particular goals in our interactions with other Christians. We should hope to stir up attitudes and qualities in our brothers and sisters in Christ. These goals on behalf of others, or hopes for others, should direct and give purpose to our interactions with others in our church, others in our Sunday school class, others in our families, or just other friends who are Christians.
Consider this: if I have no hope, desire, or goal FOR another person, I really am not thinking or considering the welfare of that person.
Instead, each of us in Christ is commanded to love others in Christ. That entails having a desire for the good and welfare of every other Christian we come in contact with. That also means we should think about how we could be used by God to help each brother or sister in Christ to achieve the goals that God has for that person.
OK, so we might buy into that idea, but what goals does God have for every Christian? What are the things that God wants to see achieved in each Christian in our church, Sunday school, family, or circle of friends?
In Colossians 2, the Apostle Paul gives us some examples. In verse 1, he explains that he has been struggling greatly for five goals in the lives of other Christians. Then, in Colossians 2:2, he says what his goals are for every Christian:
that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,
In this verse, Paul lays out five goals, five things he hopes to see and works to bring about, in his interactions with other Christians.
First, is “that their hearts may be encouraged.” Discouragement and disappointment are rife in this life, but we, like Paul, can make it our goal to always bring encouragement and support to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can do that by reminding them of all Christ has done for them, and all that Christ continues to do through His Spirit living in them.
Second, is that they are “being knit together in love.” It is easy for us to become so wrapped up in ourselves and our own interests that division and selfishness become second nature, even in the church. We, like Paul, can direct our interactions with others so that love and unity in Christ are the results of what we say and do.
Paul then says he hopes that other Christians will reach all the riches of what they have in Christ. Then, he further specifies three things that those riches involve.
The third goal is to “reach all the riches of full assurance” in Christ. Doubt and faithlessness can creep into every Christian’s life. We, like Paul, can stir others up to remember and embrace the promises of God in Christ. We can point out God’s faithfulness in the past. By word and example, we can strengthen the faith of those who are wavering.
The fourth goal is to “reach all the riches… …of understanding.” Understanding is more than just having facts. It is fully incorporating it into what we think and how we act. A person can memorize that 2 + 2 = 4, but they understand it when they can grab two grapes in one hand and grab two grapes in the other and conclude that they have four grapes. We, like Paul, can help others understand Christ, and fully grasp who they are in Him. We can help them to see all of the implications and meaning of what Christ did for them on the cross. We can help them transfer the truth into living, by constantly showing its implications in Scripture and in our own lives.
The fifth goal is to “reach all the riches… …of the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.” Many may think they know Christ, but they do not. Many others only know who He is superficially. We, like Paul, can teach and remind them what we have learned ourselves, from Scripture and from reliance upon Him. In love and with all patience, we can explain, expand, and expound for others things that they are confused or wrong about.
But, as we are used by God to show and remind our brothers and sisters about these things, we, like Paul, must remember that God Himself gives the light that becomes the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6).
If the Apostle Paul had these goals in his interactions with other Christians, we could certainly adopt one or more of them. We, like Paul, can look at our time and opportunities with others and hope to be used by God to bring these good works into our relationships. We, like Paul, will be aided by God, and will be able to say “For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me.” (1 Corinthians 1:29)