Because this earth and life are so passing, Newton reminds himself—and us—of what truly, eternally matters. This flesh and heart will one day fail, and even the earth will one day dissolve. “But God, who called me here below, will be forever mine.” God is the great treasure of the universe. Those who have him, have him forever. Those who enjoy him, will enjoy him forever.
Jesus puts it this way: “…this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
It is common, as each year begins, for people to make New Year’s resolutions… which is not a bad practice. As we look back over the past year(s), it is appropriate to wonder if we accomplished what we should have, if our life was as useful and happy as we would like it to be — and then, as a result of that assessment, we resolve to do better in areas in which we feel like we have failed or come up short.
But it is easy, when we go through this mental exercise of prioritizing what we want to be sure to attain in the coming year, to have our list of priorities woefully skewed toward things that in and of themselves will never bring about true and lasting success. We might resolve to lose weight, or work harder, or learn a new skill, or spend more time with our family, or even to read our Bible more in the coming year. And none of these things is bad, of course — unless, in striving for them, we miss the one thing that matters most.
It is having God “forever mine.” There is something more foundational to life than eating right, or exercise. There is something more central to Christianity than good works, more crucial than Bible reading or prayer or self-discipline or even heaven. Because it is the goal of all of these. The most important thing in all of life is knowing Jesus Christ.
Christ is the gospel. The good news is Jesus himself. Salvation is found, not just in the absence of hell, but in knowing Jesus Christ. This is the tenor of all of Jesus’ own teaching (Matthew 11:28-29; John 7:37). The activity of true faith is drinking in Jesus. And it is believing on Jesus which leads to the eternal, overflowing, abundant life. Every soul was created to worship God and so will only find true happiness in fulfilling its purpose, its design. But only the awakened, quickened soul thirsts for Christ, longs to be more and more in his presence.
Is this what has been missing from your life, Christian? Have you been drinking at the pool of providing for your family, or of personal relationships, or of pursuing social acceptance – but you are still thirsty? Even Bible-reading, spiritual disciplines, or charitable works are not themselves satisfying – except as they help us grow in personal knowledge and experience of Christ. Eternal life is knowing God in Jesus Christ!
Do you know Him? Not just the story about Him, or other people who know Him. Is Jesus Christ himself your friend, your confidant, your hope of salvation, your satisfaction in the ups and downs of life? I trust, for those of you who are Christians, that you do know Christ personally, deeply, and meaningfully. But I want to encourage you in this New Year, whether you are a Christian yet or not, to make it your goal to set Christ as your great goal in everything you do.
Make knowing Christ your great goal this year, and every year. Set Christ on the trophy stand of your heart, and don’t let anything or anyone replace him as your great treasure. Even after 10,000 years in heaven, praising his name, it will seem like life in the Son has only begun.
Adapted from an article at The Baptist Bible Hour.