An objective is something you are trying to achieve. A goal or purpose that you are aiming for. Something with meaning that you can put your effort into. Our lives are filled with short term objectives that each one of us strive to meet every day. For example, those who are in high school and college have an objective to graduate. Once they graduate the objective becomes finding a job in their field of study. After getting a job their objective is to learn all they can and work hard to advance up the ladder. As their career matures their objective changes to building a big enough nest egg to retire. Once retired their objective becomes spoiling the grandchildren rotten, and giving an evil giggle as they send them home with their blood stream full of sugar for the unsuspecting parents to try to keep them from bouncing off the walls. (I speak from experience. And as you might detect from my hint of sarcasm, I’m still a little bitter)
These are all wonderful and necessary objectives in life. (With the exception of the wild children with a sugar buzz) But what is your life’s main objective that all these other objectives fit into? Life is way too short to just simply exist, with no real purpose or meaning. James 4:14 compares life to a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. In the short time that you will be on this earth, what are you trying to achieve? What goal or purpose are you aiming for? Are you pouring your whole life into achieving the short term objectives that will cease to be a blessing to you the moment you draw your last breath? Or have you established your life’s objective as one that will be an eternal blessing to you? I know these are hard questions. One might even say they are scary questions. But they are very necessary questions. And they are questions that we need to honestly ask ourselves as soon as possible. Even as I write this, the minute hand has spun around the clock several times without me hardly even noticing it. Before another moment sneaks past you, have a heart to heart with yourself and determine what you are really living for. What is your life’s objective?
When we have a solid objective it will keep us on task when we might otherwise give up. For example, at the beginning of this year I participated in a weight loss challenge sponsored by the YMCA. A few friends and I put together a team for the contest with an objective to win the cash price. (An objective we fell severely short of I might add. Let’s just say two of us took the objective a little more serious than the other two. I won’t mention any names…you know who you are. I’m not bitter…) However, for me the real objective was not the cash prize. (I really never expected to win that anyway considering the team I was on. I’m not bitter…) My objective was to lose 20 pounds. I had gotten to the point where it was either trim up or buy a whole new wardrobe. I figured it would be cheaper to trim up. But I knew that if I just casually attempted to lose weight with no real goal then I wouldn’t accomplish anything. It was my objective of losing 20 pounds that kept me running on the treadmill when I would rather rare back in my recliner. It was my objective that kept me from shoving a Little Debbie snack cake in my face every few hours. (A love affair with Little Debbie is my kryptonite) Being lazy in a Lazy Boy and shoving my pie hole full of pie is part of the natural appetites of this flesh. However, a rock solid objective enables us to press past those natural appetites of the flesh in order to achieve a greater purpose even when we don’t feel like it.
If following Jesus is my life’s objective then that objective will enable me to do the right thing even when challenged to do things I don’t feel like doing. For example, I may not feel like doing good to someone who hates me, or doing unto others as I would have them do unto me, or going to church on a beautiful Sunday morning rather than worshipping my hobbies, or giving some of my hard earned money to help someone less fortunate, or visit someone in prison, etc, etc, etc. But these are all things that Jesus asks us to do. These are the things that touch his heart. Therefore, if our objective is to follow him then we will be obedient to his will whether we feel like it or not. And one thing I have learned, sometimes the hard way, is that when we stick to the objective and put our flesh on hold, the rewards are far greater than if we ignore Jesus’ calling and give the flesh what it wants.
As you read this and examine what your life’s objective has been this far in your life and what you want it to be for the remainder of your life, let me encourage you to choose a Christ-centered objective and not a self-centered objective. Take your example from Jesus Christ himself who knew what his life’s objective was and followed through with it all the way to the end of his life. And believe me, his flesh didn’t feel like going through what he went through. Hebrews 12:2 says, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Did his flesh feel like being mocked and spit at? Did his flesh feel like being slapped, lied about, and beaten? Did his flesh feel like carrying a Roman cross down the streets of Jerusalem with multitudes of people screaming for his execution? Did his flesh feel like being nailed to that cross and hanging for hours in agony while people laughed and pointed their fingers at him in disgust? No. His flesh didn’t feel like going through any of that.
In fact, in the Garden of Gethsemane, before his capture, he pressed past great mental and physical anguish as satan tried diligently to get him to throw in the towel and not go through with it. He could have you know? He could have bailed out on the whole plan and went back to Heaven where it was comfortable for him. But then you and I would be lost for eternity. We would be left to pay for our own sins, which none of us could do. Oh what a Saviour he is! If he endured all that in order to achieve his life’s objective to keep me out of Hell, then it’s the least I can do to make my life’s objective be to honor him all the days of my life. Don’t buy into satan’s lie. By pursuing a Christ-centered life objective we are not giving up anything…we are gaining everything!
A Christ-centered life objective sets the tone for all of our other objectives in life. Now then, this is where it gets real. This is where God really starts to get all up in our business. I dare you to read the rest of this Proclamation with an honest view of your life and how you conduct yourself in the following situations. And I double dog dare you to ask God to fix your objectives if you find that they are not exactly to His liking. And I promise I will do the same.
What is your objective in your marriage? That question alone just caused several people to wad this Proclamation up and throw it in the trash can. But for those of you brave enough to keep reading, what about it? Do you have an objective for your marriage? And if you do, is it Christ-centered? The truth is that when it comes to our marriages most people don’t have a clue, or even give a thought to what their objective is. They’re just married. Coexisting. Is marriage really just about sharing a house, sharing a bed, sharing bill paying, sharing the responsibility of raising the kids, etc? All of these things are obviously part of marriage but are they the main objective? If they are, then that is a very shallow and unfulfilling objective.
What if our objective for our marriage was to please our spouse more than we please ourselves? To give rather than get. What if we lived Ephesians 5:21 and “submitted to one another in the fear of God?” What if we appreciated the fact that our spouse only gets one life to live, just like we do, and they chose to spend it with us? Think about it. Do you really want your spouse to feel like they got the shaft when they married you? Do you really want them to regret wasting their one and only life to be your door mat? It is a tremendous honor that our spouse volunteered to spend their life with us and so we should make it our objective to honor them for it.
These are all questions I have asked myself in regards to my own marriage. My sweet wife and I have been married going on 19 years this December. And though I can admit that I have not always been the best husband, I can say without exaggeration that she has been the perfect wife. She has stood by me through some very dark times and has honored her vow to love me in sickness and health, richer and poorer, and for better or worse. That means the world to me. Therefore I established an objective for my contribution to our marriage with this prayer: “Lord my prayer for Sweetie is that she will be completely happy. And that for the rest of her life she will be content, at peace, full of joy, and completely fulfilled in her life. And Lord I ask you to use me to do it.” I encourage all of you, don’t just co-exist. Don’t just be married. Be married and love one another with a Christ-centered objective.
What is your objective for raising your children? Is it to provide for their needs by buying them food, clothing, shoes, braces, glasses, etc? Is it to taxi them to all their activities? Is it to buy them iPods, iPads, iPhones, and every other toy their heart desires? (Now for the record, I’m not opposed to electronic devices. I just think it’s important to make sure they also have the opportunity to learn how to operate an iRake, iShovel, iWeedeater, iVacuum, iEtc.) Obviously all of these things are part of raising children. However, providing for their needs and giving them better than what we had as kids should not be our main objective in raising them. What if Proverbs 22:6 was our Christ-centered objective and we “trained up our children in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it?” What if their spiritual well-being was more important to us than their physical well-being? What if we set Biblical standards in our homes that our kids know are not up for discussion? What if our house was not just a place to live but a temple for God’s glory to abide in, so our children grow up in the presence of God? I encourage you to give long and extensive thought to what I’m about to say. You did not just create a human body when you had children. The second you and your spouse conceived, an eternal soul was created, that will live eternally. And when that child’s physical life is over, their soul will stand before God Almighty. And as they stand in judgement to give an account for the life they lived, the only thing that will gain them entrance into Heaven, escaping Hell, is whether or not they know Jesus Christ and have accepted Him as their Saviour. Knowing this, can you see how that giving our kids a good life cannot be the main objective? Preparing our kids for eternity must be our main objective. Don’t just raise kids. Raise them with a Christ-centered objective.
What is your objective in sports? You might ask, “Why do you bring up sports? That’s not a serious matter like marriage, children, eternity, etc.” However, for something that is not a serious matter we sure take it way too serious. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports. I’ll tell you that right off the bat. (Pun intended) I have played sports, watched sports, talked sports, and coached sports for years. And I’m sad to admit that at times I have taken sports way too seriously. Until I asked myself the question I’m going to ask you. And keep in mind I’m not necessarily talking about sports on the national and collegiate level, although that applies to this question also. I’m mostly talking about sports on the local level that our kids are involved in. What is the main objective of sports? Most people would say the objective of sports is to win. But is it really? Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to win. And if a person is going to be involved in a sport then they should work hard at it and pull together with their team to try to win. Winning gives us a sense of accomplishment for the hard work, determination, and dedication we put into exhausting practices and training. However, winning can also give us a sense of pride, arrogance, and conceit that can cause us to think a little more highly of ourselves than we should. That is why winning should not be the main objective. So then what is the main objective of sports you ask? How about good sportsmanship? What if we focused more on teamwork, putting others ahead of ourselves, and building others up? Not just our team but the other team as well. What??!!! I know, I know. It’s a foreign thought to us but I’m just asking “what if?” What if our kids were involved in sports to get exercise and not so we can relive our “glory days” through them? Oh oh, and what about this? What if our kids played sports FOR FUN!!!?? Can you imagine that? Playing sports for enjoyment rather than status? Who would have thought? (The saddest part of it is the fact that the kids playing the sports seem to have the right objective. It’s the parents in the bleachers who grow fangs, get blood shot eyes, tie a noose for the referee, and demand blood shed of the twelve year olds on the other team. Sometimes I think that we as a society are one step away from bringing back the Gladiators who fight to the death for our viewing pleasure.) But most importantly, what if the main objective was to honor Christ with our conduct? Winning is such a shallow objective. Not to mention the fact that it is fleeting and unpredictable. Think about it. If winning is the objective then only 50% of the players on the field/court can achieve it. But if being the salt and light of the earth in order to honor Christ is our objective then 100% of the players on the field/court can achieve it. Walking off the field/court still holding our integrity is much more important than walking off the field/court holding a trophy. Trophies will tarnish, integrity will not. Last year’s Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Seahawks was a great game to say the least. There were a lot of spectacular plays that brought us to our feet with cheers of excitement. But honestly I can’t remember half of them without the help of a SportsCenter highlight clip. Although there is one image of the game that I remember very well. It is when one of the Seahawks reached down and helped up a Patriot who had just gotten trucked. He could have taunted him, stepped on him, or walked right past him but he chose to stop and help him up. Integrity was more important to him than winning. That makes him a winner in my book. (Even if the coach did call that bonehead pass play on the five yard line that cost them the game.) Don’t play sports just to win. Play with a Christ-centered objective.
In closing I encourage all of us to view every aspect of our lives through the scope of this question. Is your main objective on your job to just make enough cash to pay the bills or is it to honor Christ by being the most dependable, hardworking employee on the payroll? Is your main objective for going to church just to put your time in so you can check off another item on your religious check list, or is it to come into the presence of Almighty God to worship him with all your heart alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ? I could go on and on but unfortunately I have squeezed as much on to this paper as I can fit. Don’t waste your life just living. Live with a Christ-centered life objective.