Mark Affleck

I’m Stopping All GOAL-SETTING Starting Today

September 20, 2021
Spiritual Growth

I’ve been setting and reaching goals for my entire adult life. There is NO DOUBT that GOALS have been a significant force and benefit for me—in every part of life–over many years. GOALS ARE GOOD. But do they deserve to be the sole driver of our activities in life, including our faith walk with Christ? NO.
Modern society has held up GOAL-SETTING as a core value for hundreds of years. And that’s GOOD. Everyone benefits when people set and achieve goals.
I am not devaluing GOAL-SETTING. I am elevating HABITS above goals for Christians seeking to LOVE God more and fear less in their life.
hab·it: behavior that becomes subconsciously automatic when repeated regularly.
The HABITS we form in our heart shape who we are and who we are BECOMING. Change who you are FIRST, then let the HABITS that transformed you produce GOALS that drive your actions.
It’s very difficult to find evidence of Jesus being a goal-setter. He taught and modeled HABITS.

“But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Luke 5:16
Focusing primarily on GOALS relies on our own power to reach the target we’ve set. In the chase to achieve those goals, we can develop BAD habits. GOOD spiritual habits are often an afterthought when we take over the controls to reach our goals.
EVERYONE struggles to achieve goals. Most people shrug the difficulties off as “the way it is” and then endure the predictable feelings of FAILURE. This is exactly what the Enemy is looking for us to do!

Goals require self-discipline and willpower. There is little or no joy until the goal is reached. But that joy never lasts, and people often revert to their previous behavior.

SPIRITUAL HABITS avoid these pitfalls because they continue indefinitely and become a default response to the challenges of life. But most importantly, those habits take us to Jesus over and over again and let him guide us through EVERYTHING.
We cannot control the circumstances that arise while we chase our goals. But with habits, we KNOW what to do automatically.
Goals can make us complacent or reckless or even unethical in the nothing-can-stop-me pursuit. If we’re successful, it’s easy to equate that with ACHIEVEMENT because it looks like an ending.
I ask God to keep me away from being pre-occupied with goals and, instead, have me focus on establishing and maintaining spiritual habits that bring me closer to him and put me in touch with my life’s purpose.
TWO QUESTIONS: 1) How is setting GOALS working for you? 2) Have you tried focusing on HABITS over goals in your journey toward spiritual growth?
“… You have put off the old self with its HABITS and have put on the new self … which God is continually renewing in His own image, to bring you to a full knowledge of Himself.”  Colossians 3:9-10

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