You know those moments when you say something in talking with a friend or student and think “I need to write that down, because I’ve really got to apply that to my own life”? Well, I had one of those moments a few weeks ago. I was talking with two other girls ministers about reaching a goal they had set for attendance at a girls event. As I was talking with them, I said, “We have to be careful that our goals don’t become idols but remain simply motivators.” Honestly, I had never thought about it before, but in that moment, the Lord gently helped me see how many times I had allowed goals to become idols in my life.
A goal by definition is “the end toward which effort is directed.”
An idol is anything in our lives that takes the place of God in our heart and mind.
It is so easy to allow the end (or goal) toward which we are putting effort to become what we think about most, stress about most, and even care about most.
In my own life, I have allowed this to happen with goals regarding the number of registrations before a girls event, the cleanliness of my house before an in-home Bible study, and the number of leaders willing to help at an event. Please don’t get me wrong. None of these things are bad! Goals normally aren’t. They are great motivators to get us to the ultimate end result, glorifying God and bringing many people to Him. When we stop seeing goals as motivators to accomplish great things for God’s glory and allow them to become idols that determine our worth and calling, we have failed to keep the main thing the main thing. This is when we open the door wide for Satan to come in and tear down, kill, and destroy our hearts, minds, and ministries (John 10:10a).
Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing have I desired, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”
We are called to desire one thing, Jesus Christ. Our focus, our deepest longing is to be centered on Christ.
As we lead girls to understand this truth, let us stand against the temptation to allow goals to become idols. My prayer for you is that you would set goals for your life and ministry, specific, big, and exciting goals to the glory of God, and that they would remain in their rightful place…simple motivators to bring glory to God and many people to Him.
Merriam-Webster, Inc. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Eleventh ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003.