“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13,14 (NIV)
What is you ultimate goal in life? If you are among the few that take time to really think through that question, you might come up with an answer something like… live a life that makes a difference in the world, or be a model Christian for my family. Your goal may include financial success or possibly even a modicum of fame.
Whatever you have as your goal, I would suggest that ultimately your life’s goal is related to shalom.
Shalom is a rich Hebrew word that on one level means peace but the root of shalom carries with it the concept of completeness or wholeness.
I believe that ultimately, each of us is seeking a deep sense of shalom with ourselves, with those around us, and most importantly with God.
We frame that desire for shalom in many different ways and thus have seemingly different goals. But ultimately, those goals represent the same thing…shalom or peace.
For example, I may desire to have a successful medical career in which my patients see me as a caring, competent physician. But why do I want to be seen as a caring, competent physician? Because I want to feel good about who I am. In other words, I am seeking shalom with myself.
I may desire to have a successful practice in the eyes of others. But why do I care what others think of me? Because I am seeking shalom with those around me.
Finally, I may desire to have an eternal impact through my practice of medicine…but why be concerned about an eternal impact? Because I am seeking shalom with God.
The goal of the devotional this year will be to help each of us progress in this quest for shalom.
Let me quickly echo the words of Paul in today’s verses. Though I have known The Lord for almost 40 years, I still am seeking shalom.
Thus, we undertake this journey together…
Prayer- Lord as this new year begins, draw me closer to You and give me insight into my desire for shalom.