Your goals for 2017 in a larger context

As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all. – Psalm 103:15-19

 

While planning for the upcoming year, it is good to view the year from various fields of view. It is proper to have at least a year-long calendar in mind; then it can be broken down into quarterly plans and then down to weekly action items. That way things have a context for accomplishing some bigger and longer term goals. I believe most experts who coach people on planning would essentially agree with me on this.

I would like to take this to another level based on Psalm 103.

Our lifetime is really rather brief. As one who has been around for seven decades, I can say that even with good planning, there just isn’t enough time to do all one would like to do. I have at least another lifetime of desires in my heart that I would like to do and, realistically, I won’t live long enough to do it all. My life is like grass or a flower that blossoms and then hot summer winds blow, and it is gone. It is too short.

However, the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting to those who fear him. Let’s unpack that a bit. From everlasting to everlasting is another way of saying, “eternally.” God’s eternal steadfast love is on those who fear him.

Now we are looking at our planning from a height that we can’t really imagine. Since God’s love is eternally on those who fear him, then I had to have been known by God eternally, not just during this brief stay in this life.

To whom is this steadfast love extended? To those who fear him, keep his covenant and do his commandments. At first reading, that sounds like it depends on my perfection to gain God’s steadfast love. This is where we need to look a little deeper. Who is it that fears God, keeps his covenant and obeys his commandments? Ultimately, only Jesus.

How does Paul describe our relationship to God? In Christ. And also, Christ is in you, the hope of glory. We can only depend on the work of Christ, not on our own works. It is his fear of God, his keeping of the covenant and his doing of the commandments on our behalf that we must rely on.

We were chosen “in him” from before the foundation of the world, from everlasting to everlasting and we are changed from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord so that we grow in our fear of God, keeping his covenant and doing his commandments.

Those who fear God, keep his covenant and do his commandments are the elect. We are not the elect because of our obedience, but we obey because we are the elect. While we are not eternal beings, we were born and came into existence at some point in time, like January 7, 1945, we have been known to and loved by God from eternity. This is a mystery, but it is the truth.

God is sovereign over all of my plans, and he will ultimately finish conforming me to the image of Jesus Christ. That is the high level big plan (Romans 8:28-30).

Let me encourage you while you make your plans for 2017 to keep them in this larger context. We will one day awaken in the new heaven and new earth, and we will have eternity to continue to do those things we have wanted to do but didn’t have time and we will be able to do them in the perfect environment. An environment with no sin, no sickness and no sorrow.

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.