"One thing I do … I press toward
the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13, 14 (KJV)
There is great power in knowing what
you are aiming for. The apostle Paul, who penned the above words, was
not a man who lived without purpose. There was a mark, or a goal,
around which his thoughts and his actions focused.
One of the characteristics of the world
we live in today is distraction. Life has become complex, and many
circumstances arise which cry out for attention. Many voices come to
us both through personal acquaintances, and the mass media, urging
upon us this or that objective for our consideration. If we do not
have a clear sense of where we are trying to go, what we are aspiring
to, it is certain that we will become drifters, programmed by the
world we live in to run to and fro, without ever accomplishing
anything of lasting value.
This is not God’s plan for the
Christian. The follower of Jesus, of all people, should know what he
or she is about. It is not good enough for the follower of Jesus to
drift through life, without clear purpose, perhaps being content to
merely "get by". It is not enough to pay off the mortgage
and retire in comfort with adequate medical insurance. Jesus did not
live that way, Paul did not live that way, and no one who ever made a
significant difference for God did so by living that way. We must not
allow ourselves through discouragement, or someone’s indifference, to
settle for a mediocre life of non-achievement spiced up occasionally
by various entertainments we find along our path.
Many Unbelievers know the Power of a
Chief Aim in Life
In this, the children of this age are
wiser in their generation than the children of light. You can read
books by secular psychologists and motivational speakers which make a
clear case for the power of focused thinking towards a definite chief
aim. The people who made their mark in the business world, the world
of sports, academia, politics or in the arts did not get their
without motivation and discipline. When you search it out, these
people all had a burning ambition to be great in their field.
It is sad when Christians must take
their inspiration from worldly leaders and philosophers. Many times
there is poison mixed in with the truths these people teach, and some
Christians are deceived through it. We need to be discerning about
what we receive into our hearts and minds. The Bible says not to be
conformed to this world. This does not mean, however, that there are
not valid psychological principles related to achievement and
success. The main thing to ask though is this: is the goal itself and
the motivation for it something that comes out of the heart of God?
If we successfully achieve the wrong goal in life, it would be like
climbing a high mountain, only to find that we are on the wrong
mountain. Instead of finding the glory of God there, we could find
ourselves at the mouth of a raging volcano.
The Upward Call, or the High Calling
in Christ Jesus
There is a high calling for each
believer in Christ. Its pretty easy to walk in the "low calling"
of just getting by, keeping your nose fairly clean, leaning on your
justification in Christ and being a faithful church member. It is
important that we do lean on our justification in Christ, because
none of us has a record so perfect in ourselves that it would justify
our entrance into heaven. It is also good to be faithful to a local
church, provided that is the local church where God wants you to be.
However, there is much more to aim for than this.
Paul was a great apostle, and had
planted a number of significant churches. But he did not as yet
consider himself to have apprehended yet. He had something further to
aspire to. Its important that we have a goal which keeps us motivated
to the end of our lives. Otherwise, we might achieve what we aimed
for and then the rest of life would be an anti-climax. Even after so
much fruitful and impactful living in Christ, Paul was aiming for
What is the high calling for you? You
cannot know unless you first pursue the personal, intimate,
experiential knowledge of God Himself. Only God can show you what the
high calling is for you! And a major part of that calling, whatever
it is, is to walk closely with God. There must be a continual
yearning to know God better, to be close to Him, to feel the truths
of the Word of God in our soul as well as our spirit and to hear His
heartbeat. We are called to love God totally, and you can’t achieve
the higher call without that happening in your life.
There is always something more,
something greater for the Christian. It need not be something
ordinary natural men can see and appreciate. Your higher calling may
be to pray in revivals and great awakenings around the world through
intercession! You might do this while living in relative obscurity.
There are different things in God, but all of us are called to
something. There is a lot of hidden potential in every Christian.
This must be so, for the Scripture declares concerning you, if you
are truly a Christian, that "Jesus Christ lives in you" (2
Corinthians 13:5). God has given a different mix of gifts, talents
and motivations to each one of us. Many of these treasures lie
undiscovered and unused. There is much in you that remains to be
The Right Motivation
When attempting to settle on a definite
chief aim in life, there are a number of questions we should ask.
Firstly, we should ask: is this goal
for the glory of God, or for my personal glory? What is the
motivation for it? Is it the seeking of personal recognition, from
others or from oneself? Or is it the recognition and approval of God
that interests us more? We need to be deeply honest at this point,
for if there are cracks in this foundation, it will show up under
pressure later in life.
The Bible says, "Whether you eat
or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1
Corinthians 10:31). This verse tells us that the motivation for the
honour of God should control all our actions, even down to simple
things like eating and drinking. This may seem strange, but eating
and drinking iun the right way is more important than many think. One
of the chief causes for the lack of power amongst
Pentecostal/Charismatic Full Gospel Christians today is the love of
food. As Paul said in another place, "who are enemies of the
CROSS of Christ, whose god is their bellies". We eat more than
is compatible with a strong prayer life, more than is possible to eat
if we want to be full of the Holy Spirit. And many times, when we do
eat, we eat garbage that tastes good and feels good at the time but
eventually brings on heart disease, cancer and strokes. Can we truly
do this to the glory of God?
So all our living should glorify God.
And our thinking and purpose should also revolve around that theme,
for "as a man THINKS in his heart, so is he". We are
"TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our minds" (Romans 12:2),
which really means the renewing of our thought life. Therefore, our
definite chief aim should be for the glory of God since this chief
aim will become a focal point for our thinking and personal
What keeps coming back as a recurring
thought to you throughout the day? What message is coming out of your
heart? Is it something that God is pleased with, or does it reflect a
lack of trust in God? Is it pure, noble, just and right, or the
opposite? God is very interested in us reforming our thought life. He
will help us do it, but He won’t do it without our co-operation and
personal effort. In this, truly God has made us active players. In
this, we have a fight on our hands because you will find that there
is a power from the other side actively striving to fill your heart
and mind with poisonous weeds, with seeds of snakes and spiders so to
speak, with the polluted philosophies and priorities of this world
system, which neither knows nor loves God.
Without a definite chief aim to focus
on, our minds will be shaped by forces external to ourselves, by the
world we live in, and not by something we have chosen to embrace of
our own free choice.
The Qualities we Must Have
As Christians pursuing a chief aim in
life, there are three main qualities we must cultivate. These
qualities come to us from God, but we have a role in allowing them to
grow within us. These qualities are: faith, hope and love.
Hope is very much tied up with an
expectation of good in the future. When your definite chief aim is
deep within your heart, and is mixed with emotion, hope will be
there. You should ask yourself this question: "What will it FEEL
like when … ?" and then add the condition hoped for. For
example, ask yourself, "What will it feel like when I am walking
close to God, filled with the Holy Spirit, conscious of having
pleased the Father through doing His Will?" If you ask yourself
such questions, it will motivate you with the power of godly hope. It
will get you moving in the desired direction.
Faith on the other hand, is a certain
inward knowing that God gives you out of a relationship with Him. We
do not start out life as giants in faith, but we learn as we go
along. Each step of faith leads us to the capacity for greater steps
in the future. Faith declares with heartfelt confidence what God has
spoken as if it is already done and established. Faith trusts
confidently based on an inward assurance given by the Spirit of God.
It springs up in hearts that have attended to the Word of God and
allowed themselves to be enriched by that powerful seed that God has
given. We must have faith to please God, and God will give us faith
in relation to the things that must be along the path of going after
our definite Chief Aim in Christ.
Love is the nature of God, and all that
we do and think must ultimately be conformed to the ways of God in
love. This is a great challenge, but not out of reach, since Jesus
Christ lives in us by His Word and by His Spirit. As we are renewed
in our thinking, that love of Christ can start to come out and
enliven all that is in our lives. The love of Christ is mindful and
considerate of others, seeks to be helpful, and doesn’t get irritated
when things go wrong or delays are encountered. We are called to be
this way, and whatever our chief aim is in life, this is part of what
God wants for us. Without this love, we are nothing, even if we have
faith to move mountains and all kinds of spiritual gifts. (1
The Advantages of A Definite Chief
Aim in Life
When you have a definite chief aim and
you have it from God, the following advantages will come:
You will stop wasting the enormous
capacity which God has given you in purposeless, spasmodic thought.
Your mind will be stimulated to
consider exactly how to take the next steps necessary for
You will find it easier to hear the
voice of God concerning what must be done next in order to move
closer to your goal.
You will be able to discipline your
mind more easily because you will have a reference point to keep
turning it back to in this world full of distractions.
Your heart will begin to imagine things
that God desires, and you will be able to start to organise your
thoughts and the thoughts of those you lead around the accomplishment
of goals that relate to your definite chief aim.
You will be able to be a better leader,
for people don’t want to follow a leader who has no idea where he
should be taking people.
You won’t be easily seduced by the
spirit of this age, the pleasures and values it offers, because the
pain of what it costs you to indulge those things will become greater
than any pleasure the worldly things may offer you. This is so
because in your heart and mind you will attach great pleasure to
things that move you towards your goal and great pain to those things
which hinder your achievement. This is not to say that you won’t take
some time out for rest and recreation, because such things are needed
to avoid us becoming burned out.
Your definite chief aim will enable you
to filter out what is irrelevant to your purpose. Even "good"
things which, if pursued, would hinder you will be put aside if you
focus sufficiently on your Chief Aim. But if you don’t have a Chief
Aim, how can you focus on what is best? How can you be sure that you
will not abandon your current efforts if something else comes along
Having a definite Chief Aim empowers
you to organise effort towards the achievement of something. If we
are not definite in purpose, we will drift on before really
establishing anything of lasting value.
If you have the determination in God to
fix your Definite Chief Aim in your mind and keep it there in your
thoughts regularly, it will create a powerful desire in you towards
the fulfillment of that Aim, which will in turn release the ability
both to make the necessary personal sacrifices and draw upon the
ability of God to fulfil it.
God will bring around you people who
are in harmony with you, and your Definite Chief Aim. Like attracts
like, and so you will find FRIENDS of similar passion and interest
provided you yourself have a God-given passion and interest in a
particular field. We don’t get friends by just WANTING friends, there
has to be a similarity of purpose and shared values for true
friendship to flourish.
On the other hand, if you have no goal
in life, you will find yourself either alone or with others who lack
motivation and purpose, whose thinking will negatively affect you
If you don’t know your Chief Aim, and
have subsiduary goals that relate to it, how will you know if you are
on track towards doing the Will of God for your life?
How To Find Your Definite Chief Aim
For the Christian, a Definite Chief Aim
must come out of our relationship with God. We are called to pray
fervently and unceasingly in faith, according to the Word of God. So
if you have no idea what your Definite Chief Aim should be, begin
with the aim to know God, to know His voice, to know His Word, His
Principles and His Ways. Also, seek to know specifically what
giftings God has put in your life. This knowledge will be helpful in
determining what your Definite Chief Aim should be.
Have a Goal to have a goal!
It would be a sad thing to select a
Chief Aim in life that was out of harmony with God’s plan for you. It
would lead to frustration and disappointment. But even worse would be
to have no aim at all. Disoriented Christians are easy targets for
the enemy. So determine that you must have a Goal in life. If you
don’t have a goal yet, make finding the right goal your goal.
We can’t just leave things with a
General Aim like "knowing God". That should be there, but
it is not enough. When you really know God, it won’t be long until He
gives you a sense of what your higher calling is in Him. And there
will be concrete expressions of what that would be like which we
should envisage. God knows that without a "hope of our calling"
few of us would have sufficient motivation to put down the flesh and
the old selfish ways of laziness and self-indulgence long enough to
actually get to know God in a significant way. To know Christ
involves denying self, taking up the cross, choosing to give up self
will, and feeling some pain and suffering on the path of knowing the
glory and pleasure of Christ! We need a fixed purpose that means more
to us than our present comfort if we are to get anywhere in God.
A definite chief aim might be, "to
stir up effective united prayer movements wherever God takes me",
or "to raise the finest Christian children who will serve their
generation in the will of God" or "to demonstrate the
victory of Christ over the devil in the most convincing ways possible
through the ministry of deliverance", or to "pray until
this city has a major awakening which will look like this", or
"to bring the whole truth to the whole church" (as the late
Derek Prince aspired to do and achieved much along that line). The
author of this article has as a Definite Chief Aim, "To fill the
earth with the knowledge of the Glory of God". God may see fit
to refine and make adjustments to what you initially conceive as your
Definite Chief Aim in God, but it is important that you start with
one, so that you can attain the many benefits described above. The
thing must be sufficiently focused so you have an idea of what it
will look like, and also how you can start on a small scale.
Take Stock of Your Gifts and your
There are many good things we can do as
Christians, but some things will give you more satisfaction than
others. Some things you will desire more than others. Take note of
the godly things that satisfy you and that you desire more – it is a
clue to your calling. A person called as an evangelist is more
satisfied leading people to Christ than a pastor who lacks that
particular gift is. A person called as a Teacher is more attracted to
study than flamboyant demonstrations and performances. A person
called to the Ministry of Helps gets a lot of satisfaction out of
making things work at a practical level. They enjoy problem solving.
A Giver gets a buzz out of giving, whether they are called to be
great business or professional people or not!
Your Definite Chief Aim will be in
harmony with you gifts and callings. God will not call a person
without the gift of pastor to be the greatest pastor the world has
ever seen. You don’t have to be the greatest pastor the world has
seen to be fulfilled as a Christian. Your high calling may lie in
Write Something Down
Having spent some time in prayer, write
down what you believe may be the highest goal you can aspire to write
now, that you believe God would have for you. Meditate on that goal.
If it seems to be missing something, trust God to reveal that to you,
and write down the new version. God will make it clear.
You will have peace and a certain
inward knowing when you have got the Definite Chief Aim right.
Remember that we belong to God now, it
is not for us to choose any Chief Aim that takes our fancy, but these
things must be done with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Focus on Your Goal
Every day review your Definite Chief
Aim in God, and ponder that thought in a concentrated way for a few
minutes at least. This will have great power and will enable you
to move in the direction God wants. It will help you overcome the
difficulties, setbacks and discouragements along the way. It will
help your heart to be filled with Faith and Hope, and the world will
be a better place as a result. The fulfillment of your Chief Aim will
give God pleasure, and deep satisfaction to your own life. Nothing
could be better.