Summary: Conformity to Christ is our goal. Live with this end in mind. Spiritual growth is not an option. Put first things first.
Before I move on to the book of Numbers in my weekly sermons, I like to take this week, in between the books, to revisit the theme of discipleship.
• Why do we want to take this discipleship learning journey? Can we do without?
• Why do we do what we are doing today? Is it necessary?
I remember attending a seminar and the speaker asked, “Do you have a goal in life?”
• That really stunned me. It’s a very weighted question and very difficult to answer.
• I prefer that you ask me, “What are your GOALS in life” because that's so much easier - I have many goals; dreams or aspirations, you may call it.
When I’m at school, of course, passing my exams is my goal. Or if you’re short-sighted, just finishing my assignment on time by the end of the week is a goal.
• And then at different stages of life, new goals set in. In your 20s, that’s getting a job you like. In your 30s, saving money to get a HDB flat and settling down. If you are in your 50s, you’ll probably be thinking about your retirement goal.
Of course we have goals. But when someone ask you, “Do you have a goal in life?” That’s a different story.
• And I know where he is getting at. We need to think of an over-arching goal in life, something so fundamental that it runs through our life.
• All these other goals are good but they are sub-goals, temporary goals. It comes and it goes.
• There must be something more encompassing that undergirds my entire life.
If we believe in God, if we believe that He gave up His Son Jesus to redeem us, then we must believe He has a divine purpose for our lives.
• We want to know the one fundamental reason for our existence, because that will explain WHY we are doing WHAT we are doing today.
• Don’t be DRIVEN in life; DRIVE your life. Don’t be distracted by trivial pursuits. Go for that which counts for eternity.
2 Cor 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Rom 8:29-30 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Gal 4:19 … until Christ is formed in you.
Conformity to Christ is our goal. LIVE WITH THE RIGHT END IN MIND.
Our goal is not to get to heaven. Going to heaven is definitely a blessing for all who are in Christ.
• But it is a by-product of knowing Christ, not its goal.
• Why do you want to go to heaven for? The thought of this itself is self-serving. It’s self-centred. We are only thinking about our comfort and bliss.
• Everyone wants to go to heaven. Who wouldn’t? The only difference is we don’t agree on the way to get there.
Heaven is surely God’s blessing for us but that’s not the goal of our redemption.
What is? Transformation is.
• God wants to restore us back to His original design – to have an intimate relationship with Him, in holiness and without sin.
• In short, to be like His Son Jesus. That’s our goal. That’s God’s purpose for us!
Both words in these verses - transform and conform - have a common root – form, meaning a pattern or a mould.
• God is changing us constantly and with a PATTERN in mind. The finished product will look like Christ. That’s our target.
A few years back at the Commonwealth Games 4 shooters had the same score and they needed to go for a five-shot shoot-off to determine who gets the bronze medal. The Australian shooter shot all his 5 bullets onto the target next to him, which belongs to the Singaporean shooter. His target was empty and the Singaporean’s target has 10 shots and a score of 49 out of 50. He took the bronze.
What are you aiming at is importance. Live your life with the RIGHT END in mind.
• If you aim at the wrong target, you can fire all the shots you want and find yourself getting nothing at the end.
• Thomas Merton: “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”
• It’s a wasted life. You can still end up in heaven, but with a zero on your scoreboard.