You might know where you're going in this life and what you're working toward, but you're probably missing something even more important. Where are you going for eternity?
I teach a lot about setting goals and creating your vision for your life. It’s a critical part of what I do in my work with my clients. But today, we’re going to take this a very important step further.
Where are you going, and what do you want?
I don’t mean for this life, but for eternity.
Do you have a goal for eternity?
If you’ve taken the time to craft your vision and goals, and you’ve got a big goal you’re working toward right now, you know that the process takes a good amount of time. In fact, the reason most people never take this step is because it does take time. Not one block of 60 minutes, but an entire weekend….or even chunks of time over the course of a month, six months even.
Now, where you’re going and the vision you have for your life are crucially important. If you haven’t taken the time to figure these things out yet, please start today.
And yet, there’s an even more important question to consider first. That question is this:
Where are you going eternally?
I don’t think anyone ever plans to suffer. No one intentionally makes a decision that will wreck havoc in their lives (well…..some people do think this way, but they think these decisions will bring good in some way, so let’s ignore that way of thinking).
Here’s the thing…...I believe that if you know that Christ is your Lord and Savior, and that God is your loving Heavenly Father, (and you of course have a lovingly Heavenly Mother, too!), then you want to spend your eternity with them.
Do you have a plan to make that happen? Do you have a vision for your life to make that your reality?
If you don’t, then it will not happen. No one ends up living eternally with God by default. It doesn’t happen by chance, it doesn’t happen by accident, and it certainly doesn’t happen by neglect.
So I’m assuming that you know where you want to go, but I’m guessing your plan to get there needs a little work.
Let’s do that work now, shall we?
Create your vision for eternity
Let’s walk through, together, the basic steps you need to take to create your Eternal Happiness Plan, as I’ll call it.
Like any other goal, the first thing is to start with the end in mind. Once you have a vision of what the end goal is, you work backward from there to create a plan that will get you there.
Expect that your plan will be imperfect and will change and you move forward. This is completely normal. The important thing is to create the plan and to start moving.
What is the end we want to have in mind? Our end is eternal happiness…..life with our Heavenly Parents and with everyone we love.
How do we get there?
Let’s start with an understanding of a few basic truths.
God is our Heavenly Father. He created this world for us, but he wants us to return to him when we die.
God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins and to show us the way to return to our Heavenly Father.
If we choose to follow Christ by repenting and becoming like him, we can live with our Heavenly Parents again.
No unclean or impure thing can dwell in Heaven. Therefore, for us to dwell in Heaven, we must be clean and pure.
Today we’ll focus on the 4th truth. Let’s see what we need to do to be “clean,” and use those guidelines to create our basic plan.
Living with Heavenly Father
Because of the Fall, this world is full of both good and evil. Right and wrong. This is actually a blessing! We have been given agency and have the ability to choose. In order to choose, we have to have options.
Thankfully, we weren’t sent here without some sort of guidebook. God has blessed us with prophets (then and now), and scriptures. Through his word and his commandments, we know what we need to choose.
What does it mean to be clean?
"For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." (Ephesians 5:5, English Revised Version)
"Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever." (1 Ne 10:21)
To be clean is to be pure, to be without spot, or to have our garments washed clean from the blood of the Lord. When we're clean, we're pure. Our thoughts and our hearts are pure. We strive for good.
How do we become clean?
Start with the basics…...the Ten Commandments. Then add the two great commandments Jesus taught his disciples: to love God, and to love everyone else. Take an honest assessment of your life. Are you living these commandments? Where can you do better?
Where we end up eternally is determined by how we live now. Think of a person who drinks, does drugs occasionally, is casual in their sexual relations, probably lives with a boyfriend/girlfriend, watches violent action movies, perhaps horror movies...would this person even be comfortable around Christ? It's doubtful!
If someone isn't comfortable around things that are good and light in this lifetime, they won't be comfortable around them when they die.
Be intentional in reaching your eternal goal
Be intentional about where you’re going.
This is the most important aspect.
You must be intentional about where you want to go.
This is true for your temporal, earthly goals. It’s also true for your eternal goal.
Nothing happens without having a clear vision and a plan to get there.
When you get in your car, you’ll never get somewhere by default. You get in your car because you have someplace in mind that you want to go. Your Eternal Happiness Plan is the vehicle that will get you to where you want to go eternally!
The default mode in life is for us as humans to wander. You do have a set homing beacon, if you will, but it’s not nearly as strong as it is for the animals.
Everyone is born with the light of Christ and a desire to return home. This is your homing beacon. But the choices you make, day by day, determine whether that light grows brighter and guides you to Christ, or it dims and takes you away from him.
The squirrel can’t override it’s innate nature to dig. You, however, can override your innate desire to be with Christ.
Start today. Take an honest look at your life and the choices you’re making. Start with the basics - are you keeping the Ten Commandments? Are you keeping the two great commandments?
Go to God in humble prayer and ask him what you need to change to improve your course. When you’re willing to act on what you receive, He will gently guide you.
Remember, God loves you! He wants you to follow Him and to return to Him.
Decide where you want to go. Assess where you are now. Set your plan, and take action.