After she heard a new year’s sermon on goal-setting, Macy decided it was time to fix her broken life. Though she doubted she could change, she had to try. During the sermon, she wrote down four doable goals: 1) drink less alcohol, 2) use less profanity, 3) read her Bible a few times a week and 4) attend worship services most Sundays.
Macy kept these goals over the next few weeks. At first she felt excited about her progress, hopeful she might eventually turn her life around. Sadly, it wasn’t long before she began falling back into her old ways.
After only a few months, Macy completely gave up on her goals and went back into the world. What went wrong? She fell prey to three common goal-setting myths. Satan uses these myths to stop us in our tracks when we, like Macy, attempt to grow spiritually.
Myth No. 1: Your Past Determines Your Future
In recent years Macy unsuccessfully attempted to turn to God many times. As a result, she found it difficult to believe change was possible in the future. This mindset doomed her to failure. To avoid this trap, we must “forget what lies behind and the reach forward to what lies ahead” (Phil. 3:13). Do not be deceived: Our past does not determine our future!
Myth No. 2: Safe Goals are the Best Goals
Better to aim low and succeed than aim high and fail, Macy thought. Wrong! Look where her safe goals got her. Nowhere! God commands us to be perfect as He is perfect (Matt. 5:48). What higher goal could we possibly strive for? Aim high, brethren—as high as you can! Create smaller goals, but only as steps to lead to bigger ones.
Myth No. 3: Goal-Setting Doesn’t Work
Macy’s skepticism about goal-setting led to the very outcome she feared: failure. The same will happen to us if we believe the myth that goal-setting doesn’t work. It does work. We just have to do the work! Jesus said, “Strive (strain every nerve) to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). Paul wrote, “I pursue (aggressively chase) as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
We can reach the potential God gave us. To do so, we must reject Satan’s goal-setting myths and earnestly pursue spiritual excellence with hearts full of faith and hope. May 2019 be a year of spiritual growth for us all!