In counseling, we emphasize several key points to clients for goal-setting to be more successful. Two of the most important are some of the most simple – and challenging.
First, if possible, goals should be framed positively. For example, “I want to stop drinking” (negative) vs. “I want to be sober” (positive). Or, “I don’t want to be anxious” (negative) vs. “I want to experience more peace” (positive). Clients are encouraged to consider not simply what obstacle they want to overcome, but what they actually want to achieve.
Second, goals should have a clear motivation. For example, a counselor might say, “I know you want to be sober/more peaceful/etc. — tell me what motivates that desire. Let’s meditate on that.” Even if a client has a positive goal in mind, it’s not enough. They’ve got to know their “why” so their goal is reinforced by emotion. For example, “I want to be sober so I can be a positive role model for my kids.”
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how motivation applies to our goal of fighting the good fight of faith.
More often than not, I find that our main focus is on what we’re up against: sin, Satan, and this fallen world. We talk and pray and write a great deal about it. And for good reason. Scriptures are extremely clear about the battle we’re in:
Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires.Ephesians 4:22
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Ephesians 6:12
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.Romans 8:13
But really, it’s not enough to know what we’re up against. If we want to be truly motivated to finish the race of faith well, we’ve got to know what we’re called to be for in this new Kingdom of God.
So, what is God clearly and ultimately for throughout Scriptures? What does He emphasize as the end goal of this fight?
First, God is for His glory:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31
So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:10-11
Second, God is for our (the Church’s) good:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.Jeremiah 23:41
Think about it, if our goal for fighting sin and Satan in this corrupt world is blind obedience, we will be sorely met with continual despair. But, if we fight so as to delight in His glory, assured He’s for the Church’s good, we will be met with joy. Therefore, we can glorify Him in every battle, whether that be in overcoming a struggle or the grace to get back up again to fight in our local communities. Does that not surge your soul with hope?
So, why are we fighting? Are we fighting? Are we consciously fighting battles for His glory, assured He’s for our good?
None of us are getting this perfectly right and sisters, like we’re testifying at All the More every single week: we need Jesus. We need Him to increase our joy in Him. We need Him to transform our hearts to delight in Him more than the fleeting pleasures of sin. We need Him to give us the power to overcome with eyes fixed on Him.
And the good news is, God is absolutely committed to doing these things. He promised:
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.1 Thessalonians 5:24
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.Philippians 1:6
It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:13
When the temptation arises today to give in to the fleeting pleasures of this fallen world (and it will) instead of fighting the good fight of the faith, I urge you: turn to Jesus. Trust Him. Bank on His faithfulness to fulfill His promises to the Church for His glory and our good.