Goals and Desires

To understand how we can successfully live the Christian life, we need to make a distinction between Godly goals and godly desires. A Godly goal is any specific orientation that reflects God’s purpose for our lives that is not dependent upon people or circumstances beyond our right or ability to control. The only person we have the right and the ability to control is ourselves. Nobody and nothing can keep us from being the person God created us to be and that is God’s goal for our lives. The only person who can keep me from reaching that goal is myself.

A godly desire is any specific result that depends on the cooperation of other people, the success of events or favorable circumstances that we have no right or ability to control. We cannot base our identity, success, or sense of worth on our desires, no matter how godly they may be, because we cannot control their fulfillment. God desires that all would repent and live (Ezek. 18:32), but not all will. God writes to His children so that they may not sin (1 Jn. 2:1), but don’t deem Him a failure when we do. God has no blocked goals and He has no goal for us that can be blocked, uncertain, or impossible.

If your goal as a parent is to have a happy, harmonious, Christian family, you will suffer a lot of emotional ups and downs, especially if you believe that your sense of worth is dependent upon it. That is a wonderful desire, but every member of that family can and will block that goal sometime. But what if you made it your goal to be the parent and spouse God called you to be? Who can block that goal? You are the only one who can. Suppose a well-meaning pastor has one primary goal and that is to triple the size of his church and win his community to Christ. Every member of the community can block that goal. Relentless in his pursuit, he starts manipulating his people and pressuring them to produce. That church will suffer a lot of pain until the pastor realizes that his goal is to become the pastor God created him to be, and that is the best way to reach the community for Christ.

There is nothing wrong with having Godly desires like reaching your community for Christ, but don’t base your identity and sense of worth on their fulfillment, and don’t try to control and manipulate people in order to accomplish it. We don’t have to get angry, anxious or depressed if our desires are not met, but we may feel disappointed. Life is full of disappointments, but they are likely His appointments to greater maturity in Christ. Other people don’t always cooperate and events don’t always go our way, but that is not keeping us from becoming the person He created us to be, and that is God’s will for our lives.

Dr. Neil

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