“Ya gotta have goals!” Zig Ziglar
I have always been a Zig Ziglar fan. He’s a believer and a great motivational speaker widely accepted in secular business circles. His message is mostly secular, but the principles he uses are good.
We all have goals. What the motivational speakers ought to do is teach us how to set different goals. You see, we are led around by goals whether we know it or not. You may have a goal of feeling loved. You may want God to accept you. You may want security or peace or rest.
But, you say, those things are different from specific goals of writing a book or losing weight or climbing a mountain. Not really. In fact, the goals of your flesh may be just the things that are keeping you from fulfilling your specific goals. What happens when your desire to feel good clashes with your desire to lose weight? What happens when your goal of being accepted by everyone interferes with your goal to write a book? You see, these competing goals cause you to lose on both sides.
For example: Fred (pick a name) wants to lose weight. He knows that he is unhealthy and at risk. Fred struggles with depression because he wants to be appreciated and respected, but feels like a loser. In order to feel better about life, Fred eats. He slips into the grocery and buys chips and candy. When he eats them, he feels good. Then, he begins to feel bad again because he knows that he can’t lose weight by eating candy and chips. But Fred also has a goal of being thrifty. He hates to waste money and he already feels a little guilty about spending on the chips and candy. So he eats the whole bag of chips and all the candy. That way he hasn’t wasted the money. He feels good about not wasting the money, but he feels bad about not losing weight.
Do you see the competing goals? As long as Fred has this internal struggle, he accomplishes very little. Some people would say that there are two natures in Fred, a good Fred and a bad Fred. They will suggest that he fight against the bad side with rules and accountability.
I say that there is only one Fred and he has forgotten that the old way of thinking and living is in the past. He is free from his former goals. He no longer has to feel bad about himself because God feels very good about him. He no longer has to feel like a loser and to compensate for his bad feelings with behaviors that help only for a moment while adding to his pain and frustration in the long run. Instead, Fred has a whole new set of thoughts available to think.
Suppose Fred began trusting the Lord for his money. Then, if the Lord revealed that he had made a bad purchase in the chips and candy, Fred could trust that the Lord would provide as he threw them away. Suppose Fred believed that Heaven was his and success was in the hand of the Lord. Then the next time Fred began to hear the accusations of him being a loser, he could trust in God’s assessment of him and not feel bad so that he has to buy chips and candy to feel good.
Now, I know this is simplistic, but it is also exactly how this process goes. Our goals in life are the product of our thinking. Competing goals will lead us to failure. Competing ways of thinking are the problem. The flesh and its thinking is part of your past. It represents the old way. But that old way is gone, replaced by a whole new life.
The Lord loves you. He has already accepted you in Christ. When you came to Him, He was already waiting because He had already been calling for you. Nothing you have done has barred you from His love. Once you came to Him, He has made all things work together for good in your life. There is no failure, no bondage, no fear to identify you. You are the victor in Him. You are free in Him. You are safe in Him.
Once you and I begin to think like saved people, we will begin to see amazing changes in our lives. We will see the goals of our hearts fulfilled.