Misguided Goals

By Joel Comiskey, check out, Groups that Thrive

Winter 2019

Not all goals are good goals. Some are defective, misguided, and even harmful.

I learned this the hard way back in 1978. I envisioned becoming a professional bus driver with the Los Angeles Unified School district. Great pay, benefits, work hours, and brand new buses. I dreamed, set the goal of passing the driving test, and prayed a lot. I repeatedly “claimed the job by faith,” declaring that it was “already mine.” I attempted to deny all doubt and negative thinking, following the advice of a radio preacher.

There was only one problem: God didn’t want me to have that job.

He had other plans for me. I missed the final driving test by one point (failure to leave the stick shift in gear when I parked the bus). Yet, it was a holy failure. Only a few months later, I left with Youth with a Mission for a short-term trip to Canada and remained in Canada for further studies. From there, God launched me into Christian ministry. As I look back I now realize that I had wrongly discerned the will of God.

Some people dream goals to fulfill their own dreams and egos. Christian leaders can also have the wrong motivations when envisioning the future. “I want to have a larger building than pastor John down the street.” Or “I’m going to start cell ministry because I will be more successful.”

James sums this up in,  “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3).

I’m reading a book on marketing that I like but at times the author comes across as a slick salesman. “Follow my advice and you’ll sell a lot of products.” But the goal is never questioned.

So how do we know what are the correct dreams or goals?

That apostle John tells us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:13).

Okay, so we need to ask according to God’s will. But how do we know God’s will?

God’s inerrant Word is God’s will.

We as believers are people of one book. The Bible is our perfect guide. And God has given us the Holy Spirit to understand God’s Word. And God’s Word helps us to discern the thoughts and motivations of our heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Before making goals, we need to lay our hearts before God, asking him to give us the right motivations. And then we need to base our goals on God’s Word.

In my next blog, I’m going to share my conviction about God’s primary goal for cells and the cell church.