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Published on June 13th, 2016 | by Jacob T. Murphy

What We Get Wrong When We Think About Goals and Success





We all have goals.

Some are big, others are small. If any of us said we wouldn’t want to have these goals achieved, we’d be liars. But very few are willing to put in the effort it takes to make this happen.

So today, I want to look at goals, and where many people are going wrong when it comes to fulfilling them.

Goals

The first thing I want to talk about are goals themselves. Like I said before, we all have some. But not all of us have exact goals. What do I mean by that? I simply mean not all of us know exactly what the end-goal looks like.

For example, one of my goals is to do something that changes a generation for the glory of God. I’m inspired by people like Martin Luther & Rochunga Pudaite, who both stepped out in faith and changed generations of people for God’s glory. I want to do something like that.

What exactly will I do? I’m not sure yet.

Nor do I necessarily need to know. The Apostle Paul never knew exactly how and when he would take the gospel to the Gentiles, but he knew he would.

I want to encourage you right now, if you have a God-given goal but don’t know exactly how things will pan out, that’s okay.

Success

That’s where most people go wrong when it comes to success, or reaching their goals. Most people would assume you need to know exactly how something is going to happen, i.e. making a plan, in order to reach their destination.

God’s Word, however, gives us some very different ideas of how success works. Psalm 119:105 states: “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (NKJV).

What does that have to do with success? It’s quite simple really: look where you’re walking.

You see, I’ve noticed that people often get so obsessed with the light at the end of the tunnel, their goal, that they forget to look where they’re walking, how they are getting there.

Let’s look at an example of this in the life of the Psalmist himself, King David. As we’ll see, when we study and apply God’s Word to our lives and live by it, success is inevitable in one form or another.

Watching your step

In his days as a teenager and young-adult, David had a God given promise and goal, that he would be king over Israel. But as things turned out, getting from the living-room to the throne-room would be a bit of a journey.

As we’ll see time and again, however, David watched his step carefully, and it always paid off in the end. First Samuel 24 is a perfect example.

Let’s set the scene. Saul, the current king of Israel, is out hunting David, seeking to kill him before David has the chance to gain the throne. David, at this point, is hiding in a cave in the wilderness of En Gedi.

Saul, tired after a long day’s journey, unknowingly sets up his camp for the night in the very cave David and his men were hiding out in! However, David and his men remain hidden whilst Saul lies down to rest.

Now, some of David’s men see an opportune moment for David to slay Saul and become king. That is David’s goal, isn’t it? God promised him he would be king after all, and this is the perfect opportunity.

David, on the other hand, understands that at the minute, Saul is God’s appointed king. Killing Saul would be rebelling against the authority God has placed over him, which is equivalent to rebelling against God Himself.

Instead, David cuts off a piece of Saul’s robe, and in the morning uses it to show Saul how he had placed himself in danger. Saul, touched by David’s act of mercy, breaks down and extends his peace toward David saying, “And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king…” (1 Samuel 24:20).

David, as a result of watching his step on the path to the goal, was thus able to walk away that day blameless, and with Saul’s blessing.

As we see from the example above, and many others, walking uprightly down the narrow road always gets to the goal in the end.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity” (Prov. 2:6-7).

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About the Author

is a Northern Irish content creator, aspiring author, and devoted Christian. He enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and challenging his own and cultural thought habits. Growing up with Asperger's Syndrome of Autism has taught him to not let the different labels, or low expectations, people put on him define who he is, enabling him to enjoy endless self-discovery in a God who loves him.



  • Christine Mae

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I really learned and realized a lot by it. I was also encouraged that by God’s wisdom, these goals that God has placed in my heart will soon be successful in His time.

    • Jacob T. Murphy

      Thanks so much for the feedback Christine! I know that God hasn’t let me down yet, nor should be the case for you!

      Thanks for the comment,

      Jacob

  • John Oxide

    Thanks for this, Jacob! It’s helpful to remember to walk in God’s way even when it may not seem like the easiest way to achieve our goals.

    • Jacob T. Murphy

      Exactly, John! Achieving the goal isn’t our job, that’s God’s. Our job is to trust Him and follow His path step by step.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Jacob

  • Anne

    Yes, thank you for this article, Jacob! This really encouraged me by realizing that I don’t have have every goal figured out. Thanks again! :)

    • Jacob T. Murphy

      No problem Anne! I get what you mean, I often get caught up in thinking I have to have everything figured out before starting. But just remember it’s not about us in the end!

      Thanks for the comment,

      Jacob

  • Haven Asnip

    Thanks Jacob! I never really thought about David’s actions from that perspective before. (:

    • Jacob T. Murphy

      No problem! Thanks a bunch for the feedback, I also love looking at Scripture from different perspectives so glad to know I could help you do that.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Jacob

  • Bravo Jacob! I loved the article and I got to look at scripture in a different way so I thank you for that =) I found a quote for you and here it is! “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” Walter Bagehot. This is kinda my motto for life, do what others think you cannot do and show them that you are not one to be labeled. So good for you Jacob for breaking out of the mold and not letting others tell you who you are and what you can do. Keep up the fantastic work! :)

    • Jacob T. Murphy

      Haha, I love the quote! Thanks so much for the encouragement; I’m glad to know my writing helps people!

      Thanks for the comment,

      Jacob

  • Christina

    I just have to say, I love your bio! Don’t let the low expectations define you! The “labels” people tend to put on people tend to be very wrong because of the unique perspective you have on the world! I just had to say, I loved it! Your blog was awesome as well! Especially for someone who really likes plans and completing them!

    • Jacob T. Murphy

      Thanks a bunch! You’re kind words mean so much! Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the feedback!

      Thanks for the comment,

      Jacob

  • The Bean

    You’re an aspie? I maybe am one too (I score high on asperger tests and have a few traits of asperger’s syndrome, namely high IQ, limited interests and antisocial behaviour). I am also an aspiring author, European (Switzerland) and avid reader. It would be great to meet you someday! If not on earth, see you in heaven!
    By the way, great article. I find it really helpful.

    • Jacob T. Murphy

      Haha, proud Aspie here, be happy to be you! Switzerland, huh? Sounds awesome! Maybe if we both hit it big we’ll bump into each other.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Jacob

  • Great article!

    • Jacob T. Murphy

      Thanks Hailey!

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