Desires and goals are not the same. What got you started and what keeps you going in your relationship with the Lord? Some of us would say it is simply by the grace of God that we know Him. That is true. But there is a bit more to say.
Abraham was 75 years old when God promised to make him a father of nations (Genesis 12:1–4). He was 86 when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16), but Ishmael was not the promised child. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac, the promised child (Genesis 17:19, 21), was born (Genesis 21:5). What do you think Abraham was doing for the first 75 years of his life? What were his goals? Did he set out to be a father of all nations?
Abraham was able to avoid a problem that many of us do not avoid today. He was moved by his desires more than by his goals in life. Abraham’s desires were the reasons for the few goals he pursued. His desires were the reason he lived the way he lived. But, what about you and me today? Why do we live the way we do, and why do we have the goals we set for our lives?
Scripture teaches about desires. Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. To behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” Here David is telling us of just a single desire, the desire to live with the Lord in His house all his life. Not a goal; just a desire.
David understood the power of having desires that fueled why and how he lived. Because he understood the nature of desires, he didn’t have or need many goals for his life. He didn’t need to set goals for how to be something; his desires taught him who to be and how to live.
You and I should learn from David and Abraham. We should listen to what the Spirit of the Lord wants us to know about our desires and our goals. Often, we are told we must set goals for what we want to do in life. But that is not all that we should hear. When we don’t have the right desire as the reason for our goals, we can find ourselves pursuing goals for the sake of what we want to get. This can derail our lives and cause us to live unfulfilled.
So how do you know the difference between living based on your desires and living to chase a goal or a want? Well, goals tend to be short-termed, focused, specific, and rigid. They are unchanging, even when everything around you is changing, screaming at you to change too.
Let’s say you want to be married by the time you are 30. That would be a goal. But goals like this are a setup for failure because what happens if you are not married by 30? Or what happens if you are not patient, and you marry someone you shouldn’t marry simply because you are almost 30? Goals come from your mind, and your mind reacts to the world. Goals can never express who you are in life. They only indicate what you can do in life.
Think about Abraham. What did he think, having to wait so long to become a father? He messed up and had Ismael because he thought he had to do something to become that father before it was too late. He didn’t wait. Sometimes goals make us get out ahead of where we should be.
But after this, Abraham learned he didn’t need to have goals as long as he had desires for his life that came from God. Our desires come from our hearts, the place where the Spirit of the Lord lives. God wants us to live by desires that are the reasons for how we live for Him and before others.
You desire someday to be a wonderful parent to some wonderful children. This is a desire. It is a desire that God loves, and a desire He would help you fulfill. But your reason for wanting children is so that you can be a wonderful parent.
Desires are not rigid. They are not short-termed, and they are not something we pursue. A desire is an expression of why and how we live out our lives the way that we do. Our desires should be the reasons for the few goals we set in life.
People set goals for what they want to do with their lives. Believers follow desires that express why and how they live out their lives. When we know our desires, it opens us to all that God can do through our lives. When we know our real desires, nothing will be able to keep us from living the way God wants us to live. Goals can be roadblocked, but there are no roadblocks to desires.
Our goals are the place where we do with our life what we want to do. But our desires are the place where life is fulfilled by God. Look at your desires and make certain they are real in God, then make your desires the reason for any goal you may set. One thing we should desire, and one thing only, is to live all our lives in the house of the Lord. Our desire should be to have no goal that is not connected to who God wants us to be.
We don’t need to set a goal for what to do with that. We don’t need a goal for what time to start the day when we have a never-ending desire for God. We don’t need a goal to accomplish something by a specific time; we live out what God has accomplished in us. We don’t need a goal for what to do next; we live each day God gives us the way He wants us to live. Our desires should have no beginning and no end. They are infinite and eternal.
We need only the desire to follow what the Spirit will tell us in our heart. Don’t have a goal to start a homeless shelter if the Spirit of the Lord hasn’t already found in you the desire to build a home and a shelter in your heart for His life. This is an eternal desire, and it is the basis for all that we can ever want or do in life.
Live a Delivered Life. Love you.