Do you ever pursue good goals, but foolishly? It does happen to people, especially when they are in a rush for results. The Bible warns us of the dangers of seeking quick results and shortcuts.
- The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. Prov 21:5 (NASB)
- Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time. Prov 13:11 (NLT)
We must be very careful when we are wanting quick results in our business dealings, career training, relationship concerns, or financial gain, including debt reduction. Worrying and fretting over any of these things will tend toward foolishness and sin (Ps 37:7-8). Fear, if not balanced, has a tendency to motivate bad decisions. Only the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10).
Let’s assume, for example, you are pursuing debt-reduction. Maybe to accomplish this good goal, you accept a new job opportunity, a promotion, a second job, or overtime at work. Even though all of these are possible ways to accomplish debt reduction, all are possible ways to do so foolishly. These may require an injudicious amount of time working. This could result in grave neglect of other areas of life: family, health, sleep, church, prayer, Bible meditation, etc. In the end you might gain financial freedom, but in exchange for spiritual, physical, or relational poverty.
We have seen in counseling that overwork can lead to health issues, disunity in relationships, anger, sexual sin, adultery, and even divorce. It is not enough for us to have a good goal, but we must also have a wise pursuit of it, or it is sin (Jas 3:15-16; Ps 131:1). God is concerned not just with where we are headed, but how we are trying to get there. It may be, for instance, that to please God you have to stop trying to eliminate all debt in two years by working ten extra hours a week. Instead, you may have to plan to eliminate your debt in six years. This will allow you to only have to work an extra three hours a week so that you do not neglect other responsibilities God has given you.
Whatever your good goal, evaluate your pursuit of it based on what is most pleasing to God, not on what is most efficient or quick. If you are on the path of wisdom you are headed for future blessing. Wisdom will always be vindicated by its fruit (Luke 7:35) Proverbs is clear, “If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer” (Prov 9:12 NIV). So do not be foolish when pursuing a wise goal.