March 11, 2016

What is the Goal of your Life? (Lent 5)

Children ask us all the important questions. My daughter Mary for example asked me “What percent of people are happy in their work?” I told her I had no idea but would guess that less than half the population are happy, enjoy what they are doing and feel their lives have meaning and purpose. Most people seem to just drift through life without ever really thinking about where they are going. If you do not have a goal, any road will take you there. This is why one of author Stephen Covey’s “Seven habits of successful people” is being proactive. Being proactive means consciously deciding on a goal and then focussing your actions on achieving that goal.

1. Paul is urging the Phillipians to focus on the right goal

Paul had chosen the goal of being the perfect rabbi. He had achieved this – and more. He was highly educated, faultless in keeping the Law of Moses and a respected member of the ruling Jewish Council. He believed that right doctrine, right behaviour and good works would put him in a right relationship with God and give him an eternal life of joy.
  • But Paul was not really happy – he was a very angry person
  • Like many good Anglicans he eventually had a personal experience of the Risen Jesus and became a serious Christian
  • I had a similar experience when I thought I was a very successful Librarian at the top of my profession – Director of a large library, leading the change to computerization and President of the Library Association of Alberta
  • My Board terminated my employment and I realized I had not been living in reality – I had deceived myself
  • Forced to re-think my goal in life, read the Bible, experienced Jesus through the Holy Spirit and healing – found identity, joy
  • Many baptized Anglicans have shared similar experiences with me - experiencing Jesus, becoming a serious Christian, joy
  • See this with people who goes through Cursillo / Alpha
 2. New Goal of Paul was to know Christ and be like Him
Personal experience, often in a praise and worship or prayer time, is the key to really “getting it”. In spite of being a lifelong Anglican I had not really “got it”.
  • We just do not “see the new thing” that God promised Isaiah
  • New thing = new way to get rid of the sin, guilt and shame that pollutes our lives, robs our destiny of joy of ‘life in Christ’
  • Paul tells us he gave up his old way of dependence on learning, good behaviour and doing good works
  • Nobody could never be good enough to overcome human weakness – needed grace – undeserved forgiveness
  • Jesus created a new way to forgiveness, holiness and an eternal relationship of joy with God on the Cross
  • Jesus was the model of self-sacrificial, forgiving love
3. Jesus answers Judas with a stunning rebuke – leave her alone
Mary was the opposite of Paul – uneducated, poor and not powerful. But Mary was a woman. Women have intuition. They know what is going on emotionally. She was the smartest one in the room. She had spent many hours listening and talking to Jesus. She had figured out who Jesus was and that He was warning them of His coming death. Her response of love is a stunning example to us all:
  • She does not say a word
  • She pours $ 40,000 worth of perfume on Jesus feet and humbles herself by wiping them with her hair
  • Her goal was to love God in the form of Jesus with no holding back, no self-reliance
  • It was the opposite of the response of Judas who, like the others, did not “get it”
  • They were stuck in the old, failed goal of trying to earn God’s love and forgiveness through giving money to the poor
  • A better goal is to help the poor gain the hope of a new life of love, forgiveness and joy in relationship with Jesus
The better goal is to know Jesus Christ through our own study and experiences of healing, forgiveness and joy

No comments:

Post a Comment