This Should Be Your Life Goal
Years ago, I spent an eighteen-month span rising every morning at five and praying for two hours. During much of this time, I cried out for God to use me to lead multitudes to salvation, to speak His Word, and to see people set free.
I prayed this way morning after morning until God spoke to my heart. “Son,” He said, “your prayers are off target.”
I was stunned. What could possibly please God more than these requests?
God spoke again. “Judas left all he had to follow Me,” He said. “He preached the kingdom of God. He healed the sick, gave to the poor, and got people free. Judas is in hell.”
I was shocked by the realization that, as good as my goals seemed, I could unknowingly be in the same category as Judas. I asked God, “What should be my targeted goal?” In answer, God took me to the story of Moses, the Israelite raised as a prince in Egypt.
Moses was brought up with no lack of money, possessions, or education. He had the best of everything. To most, his life would have seemed a coveted utopia, yet he wasn’t satisfied.
Hebrews 11 tells us Moses chose to walk away from what the most affluent nation on earth could offer. Something inside Moses told him his true desire couldn’t be attained where he currently resided. Hebrews says:
He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.
Hebrews 11:26 NLT
What was this great reward? Many might think it was the Promised Land, but that’s not it. Moses himself didn’t know what the reward was when he left the royal house. It wasn’t until forty years later that he met God at a burning bush and experienced His presence. Once this happened, Moses’s goal was set. God’s presence was his reward.
We see proof of this later, when Moses is leading the Israelites out of Egypt. This is the part of the story that changed everything for me.
For Moses, the time after leaving Egypt was filled with stress. The desert was filled with challenges, and his national approval rating was at an all-time low. In the midst of these turbulent times, God spoke:
“Leave this place, you and the people you brought out of Egypt, and go to the land that I promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to their descendants. I will send an angel to guide you, and I will drive out [the inhabitants of the land]. You are going to a rich and fertile land. But I will not go with you myself…” Exodus 33:1–3 TEV
Consider the circumstances Moses and the people faced every day in the desert. Slavery in Egypt was terrible, but wandering in the wilderness didn’t seem any better. However, the people had a hope: the land of promise, Canaan. God had told them for years that it was a rich and fertile land, one flowing with abundance.
Now God had instructed their leader to take them into this Promised Land. He declared there would be a mighty angel to guide them and drive out their foes. There was just one catch: God Himself would not go.
Listen to Moses’s reply:
“If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” Exodus 33:15 NKJV
Moses’s reply is mind-boggling. Here was a place of lack, stress, and hardship. Here was a desert! Yet in essence, Moses told God, “If I have to choose between Your presence and Your blessing, I’ll take Your presence.”
Moses’s heart was set on what was best. It directed him to make the best choice even when God offered him a good choice, one common sense and uncomfortable circumstances dictated he should accept. Moses’s goal was to know God intimately. This was his highest reward. Nothing was of greater value and nothing could deter him from it.
What God showed me through this story transformed my life. I began to shift my focus from achievement or blessing to intimacy with God Himself. In the years since, I’ve learned that nothing could be better than friendship with God. And nothing will keep us on the right path like focusing on the pursuit of His presence.
What’s your ultimate goal? Is it God’s presence? Or is it something lesser, something that seems good but keeps you from seeking intimacy with God? How can you recalibrate your heart and your life so that, like Moses, you seek the greatest reward—no matter what?