By David Stahl

When God formed man and breathed life into him He placed within man an objective, a direction you can say for his life.  This direction is like a prize (we all like to win a prize)  that is placed before us as a goal to be reached.  Paul gives us a clue to the direction we must take if we desire to walk with the LORD, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:13-14)  Now some Christians make heaven their direction, while others will make ministry their directional focus, or their prayers and efforts on their work.  Whatever we may do or accomplish in life all this is never to be our direction to which we are to attain, if so then we have lost the prize. Rather it is the means by which the LORD develops in us to come through to the goal that He has placed before us.  As a present reality this prize for our lives is calling out from deep within us to stir us to attain to it.  This is why Paul prayed, “…but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:12) All of the “things” that we do for Jesus are splendid, but we are not to become so involved in them that we lose our perspective and sight of the prize.  To win the prize we must maintain proper direction and focus as we press toward the mark. These “things” will eventually pass away therefore, we must only become involved enough to get from them that which the LORD intends. We are to grow spiritually in the grace and knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ and yes this happens as we endure God’s dealings and judgments in our lives, but we must never allow our direction or objective ever to be the dealings and judgments (suffer for the sake of suffering) or what we want (a mansion, a harp, a crown, etc) to have in God.  I hear many denominations sing songs about going to heaven and getting a mansion just over the hill top, but what are they going to do when heaven goes away?  Jesus told us, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”  (Matthew 24:35) In Revelation John tells us, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”  (Revelation 21:1) Heaven is not my final home, but for those who are not expecting anything else after heaven they will not be ready nor will they able to move correctly in what God has for us then. The Bible I read says God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth and yes we are going back to the earth and going work, And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.”  (Revelation 21:24) And in Isaiah, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18  But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 20  There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. 21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23  They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. 24  And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  (Isaiah 65:17-24)  For those who are not ready for this new life they will not be able to function and move with God in what He is doing.  Our direction need not be into heaven and all of His rewards, but Him and Him alone. I am not into heaven (now I am going and I hope I see you there), but I am into Him my eternal abode back to His heart where I came from. You know in a schoolroom there are many books to study, but these are not the education we seek they are merely the means that helps to produce it. We receive our education by becoming a reacting agent and allowing all these factors to play upon us.  It is like our ministry, for through it, the LORD is doing something creative within us.  You know God will never ask us how much work we have done for Him, but He will ask what has that work done within us and all of this will be registered upon our immortal spirit and will do something within us that we will not be the same as we were when He first saved us.  There is to be within us a progression, our spiritual development and growth toward spiritual maturity.  I am saved, but how far have I come into this process of becoming like God’s precious Son Jesus Christ, which is God’s goal in our lives. Well if heaven or ministry is not to be our prize then we are to press forward or plod on in what is to be held up before us toward which we can focus our daily living?  It is not a “thing,” but a what — God’s glory.  Paul tells us, “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  (1 Corinthians 10:31) and Peter helps us here, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever.”  (1 Peter 4:11)  The LORD has placed before us the “glory of God” as the direction that will require all that we are and have, to be submitted to Him.  To glorify the LORD fully was the first vocation which was placed upon man when God created him.  We are to “glorify God” in all we are and do.  God made man and placed him in a garden, set apart to bring glory to Him, not to help Him do something.  Man was made to glorify God.  But we are born sinners and come short of this.  Sin comes from a Greek word which means, “to miss the mark” the failure to do that for which it was made. Man was made and pointed to hit the bull’s eye (the glory of God), but he has missed the objective for which it was designed.  This is sin.  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Why are we sinners?  Because we have come short of the glory of God the thing for which we were made.  Whenever God does not receive the glory that should come to Him we sin.  Man was made for a “mark” called the “glory of God.”  How then are we to glorify God?  If we are willing to abandon ourselves in the very root of our being to Him, God will take us into His possession.  After God formed Adam He placed the benediction of His approval upon him, because He was well pleased with the arrangement which He had made our being limited and dependent on Him for life and Him alone.  The instrument (Adam) was there, but it had not yet moved out where it could glorify God.  The LORD says, I will now push you out into an arrangement here on earth and make a new law in the realm of spiritual living (Genesis 2:16-17), the law of testing and proving.  This is the only way to develop and bring us to a place where God’s glory may be released.  You know our nature is a gift.  We become a partaker of His divine nature purely on the basis of a gift He gave us.  God gives us salvation, but He cannot give us a Christian character.  We have to develop it. We are to grow and learn to subject our  emotions and feelings continually to all the arrangements which God has placed in our life activities and as we do the will of God He is automatically glorified, for He is glorified whenever His will is done. Whenever God acts in a creative mood it is to His glory.  He made the heavens, the seas, and man all that declares His glory. What is our objective in living?  It is to glorify God.  How can we do it?  By accepting the will of God in our life directions. Therefore God knowing who and what we are places within our direction of life all the material that is necessary to reshape, recast, and make over that which He desires us to be.  God can take the most disturbing things in our lives and make them become the means of us giving God glory.  God’s objective is that through all the things that He subjects us to He is conforming  us into the image of His dear precious Son Jesus Christ.  He is approaching us because of His Son and what He sees in Him. He is tracing upon our spirit that we may be conformed to His image. For one day He will take us not just to heaven, but to be His (Ephesians 2:22) eternal habitation. When we see this we will be able to accept the trials, the discipline, the testings, and provings; for we see that this is the will of God and through it He will trace upon our immortal spirit the image and likeness of dear His Son.  Only then will we find the satisfaction and fulfillment for which we were created and only then can we render the glory that is due Him.