What is your (real) goal?

On Monday we talked about idolatry. When many of us hear that word, we think of ancient peoples bowing down to man-made statues.

But our understanding of idolatry might be too narrow. Here’s how I define modern idolatry. It’s giving first place priority to something or someone who isn’t God.

With that definition in mind, a lot of things can turn into idols. Your home can become an idol, your family can become an idol, your number of “likes” can become an idol, and your body can even become an idol.

So for a few days this week, I’m going to help you think through what your invisible idols might be, if any. And I’m going to do it with three questions which are inspired by Tim Keller in his book Counterfeit Gods. On Monday I asked you this: What do you habitually think about to get joy and comfort in the privacy of your heart?

Here’s the second question:

What is your (real) goal in life?

The reason I emphasize the word “real” is because what we think our goals are, and what they actually are, aren’t always the same thing. For example, if I say that my goal is to be an amazing father, but then I work too much and neglect my kids, it might be an indication that my REAL goal is professional “success.”

I’m not against goals. I’m really in favour of setting goals. But we need to be honest and look at how we spend our time, attention and energy, and then make sure they’re aligned with the right things.

Keeping in mind that idolatry can be giving first place priority to something or someone who isn’t God, know that your (real) goals can reveal potential idols which distract you from the priority God should have in your life.

In Isaiah 44:17 we hear about an idolater who makes a “god,” bows down for worship to it and says, “Save me! You are my god!” It’s total foolishness. But isn’t that what we do when we organize our lives around something which squeezes out the allegiance we should give to God alone?

Be honest. What is your (real) goal in life?  

By Matthew Ruttan


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