I’ve been slowly reading Neil T. Anderson’s book, Victory over the Darkness these past few months. It’s interesting to me, yet not surprising, how often the things I’ve read in this book “just happen” to correspond to what I’m learning in Making Peace with Your Past. Funny how that happens.
Chapter 7 is titled You Can’t Live Beyond What You Believe.
Wow. Just the title alone!
He starts off with a “faith appraisal.” Next, he points out that feelings are God’s read flag of warning. Then there’s a section where he talks about anger being a signal of a blocked goal, anxiety being a signal of an uncertain goal, and depression being a signal of an impossible goal.
But the part that really stood out to me is where he writes about the differences between a godly goal and a godly desire.
“To live successful lives, we need to distinguish a godly goal from a godly desire…..A godly goal is any specific orientation that reflects God’s purpose for your life and is not dependent on people or circumstances beyond your ability or right to control.”
“A godly desire is any specif result that depends on the cooperation of other people, the success of events or favorable circumstances you have to right or ability to control.”
” The homemaker who wants a happy, harmonious family is expressing a godly desire, but she cannot guarantee that it will happen. Her goal is to become the wife and mother God wants her to be. The only one who can block that goal for her life is herself.”
So, it’s subtle, but such an important shift. A godly desire might look like this; “I want my family to be happy and harmonious. I want us to love and support each other through thick and thin. I want everyone to get along and be cheerful.” That’s not a bad desire! And a wife and mother has a lot of influence in her home and can do a lot to create an environment that makes this possible. But if you’re linking your success and self-worth to that desire then you very well could be in for some major disappointment and depression!
A godly goal shifts the focus to yourself (the only person you can control) and God. It’s a beautiful partnership wherein he does all of the heavy lifting. “Lord, make me the wife and mother that you’ve called me to be. Help me to love you above all else. Give me a burning desire to know and follow your ways. Teach me to love you and be a conduit of your truth, beauty, healing, and love. Holy Spirit guide me in lifting my loved ones up in prayer so that you can demolish every stronghold, heal every broken place, and guide in Spirit and truth.”
He goes on to write,
“It should be obvious by now that God’s basic goal for your life is character development: becoming the person God wants you to be. (1 Thess. 4:3)”
Chapter 8 has more to say on this topic.
“When you base your sense of worth on the success of your own personal plans, your life will be one long, emotional roller-coaster ride. The only way to get off the roller coaster is to walk by faith according to the truth of God’s Word.”
“Your primary job now is to adopt God’s character goals diligently….Focusing on God’s goals will lead to ultimate success.”
In other words, in order to live well and be agents of change, we much change our thinking to reflect his thinking, and our goals must be replaced with his goals.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2