There is a story about a Finnish atheist who stated in his will that he wanted to leave his farm to the devil. Finally, after weeks of deliberation, the court decided that the best way to carry out the farmers wishes was to permit the weeds and briars to take over the farm land, to allow the house and barn to remain unpainted and eventually rot, and to let the soil erode and wash away. The court declared in its ruling, “the best way to let the devil have possession of anything is to do nothing.”[1]

Do you have a clear sense of where you want to go? The best way that to allow Satan to destroy your goals and dreams, is to do nothing. If we have no action plan, you will never achieve those goals. The same is true of “upkeep”. Just like that farm that would become dilapidated and begin to fall apart, our faith and love toward God will diminish if we stop tending to it. Such is the nature of this world — if something isn’t growing, it’s dying.

There are some common objections people make in regard to working toward their goals. First of these is a fear of failure. They begin to think of the negative possibilities. What if I fail? What if I make a fool of myself? Where do those thoughts come from? They didn’t come from God! They didn’t come from your brethren! God and your brethren want you to succeed in your spiritual goals! Support in working toward those goals is available to all who will ask, and who will share what their goals are. You could have a cheering section beside you the whole way! The second is, “I don’t have enough time.” Well, we have time for what we choose to have time for. Yes, there are some things beyond our control, but for the most part, we make the choices about how to spend our time. Throw that excuse out the window.

There are four questions that we need to ask:

  1. What do I want? (identify your goals). Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” If your goals line up with God’s will, then they are not out of reach.
  2. How badly do you want it? (set priorities) Stephen Covey has written many times on priorities and has rightly observed, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
  3. How do I get there? We have to put together a plan of action. Setting the goals is not enough — we have to decide what actions will take us toward the fulfillment of that goal. We have to be engaged in prayer concerning this plan. “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23) If you are not certain how to achieve the goals you are setting, it is time to sit down with someone of maturity and ask for assistance.
  4. Develop the discipline to accomplish the goals. Just like the resolutions people make at the new year, plans fail because they do not exercise the discipline necessary in order to succeed. “The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” (Proverbs 12:24) Make the tough choices and don’t give up!

Set your goals on the fruit of the Christian life, as Paul once said, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-24) It will take goals, priorities, following God’s plan, and discipline.


[1] The Solomon Secrets: 10 Keys to Extraordinary Success from Proverbs by Robert Jeffries

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