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Stanley: the price of living without goals

June 6, 2013

What are likely to be the qualities of a person who has no goals? Think about such a person for a moment. He is likely to exhibit the following characteristics:

A person without goals generally has no excitement in his life. He has no enthusiasm for getting up in the morning. He has no ambition to make the most of every day. Nothing energizes him.

A person without goals is drifting through life without a sense of direction. The person with no goals tends to drift along through life, never accomplishing much and never really seeking to do anything. Such a person tends to live from day to day, hand to mouth, taking life as it comes and doing little to change negative circumstances. He may attach himself to anything enticing that comes his way, including things that are negative and even evil just for the sake of having something to think about or something to do. He accepts mediocrity as a way of life.

A person without goals is often very critical of others, especially those who are successful or who are working hard to achieve particular goals. The person without goals basically doesn’t like himself very much. He doesn’t believe he is worthy of achieving anything or doing anything remarkable. To make himself feel better, he tends to criticize others, hoping to bring them down to his level. He is especially critical of those who are pursuing goals, often ridiculing them as “trying to be big shots” or “being money hungry” or “chasing after a dream.” He enjoys watching others fail or struggle with obstacles because he feels more justified in his own laziness and unwillingness to take risks in the pursuit of goals.

A person without goals tends to settle for living in a rut. He claims to like consistency, but he actually is afraid of change and challenge. He is willing to settle for the routine. The person who opts to live in a rut is virtually closed in his spirit to any challenge of the Lord to grow, mature, or develop. Such a person rarely hears God’s call to reach new people with the gospel or to extend himself to participate in a new ministry outreach.

A person without goals winds up living a disappointing life. When he looks back over his life, he feels dejected that he has so little to show for his time on this earth. He has a sense that he has wasted his life—wasted resources, wasted time, wasted energy, wasted gifts.

I truly believe that to live a life without the pursuit of goals is to sin against God. It is to shut off all challenges of God to extend oneself to others. It is to be a very poor steward of the precious gift of life that God has given to each one of us. And it is to live in disobedience to God’s call to grow in Christ Jesus, to mature in Christ, and to be conformed to Christ. It is to deny that God’s initial purpose and plan for a person’s life were valid, and it is to turn away completely from the potential that God has placed inside each person.

Stanley, C. F. (2000). Success God’s Way. Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

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