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Sometimes when I’m typing quickly, letters are transposed. This often renders a word unintelligible (e.g. hte), which the spellchecker instantly picks up. Sometimes, however, transposition of certain letters creates a valid word which is not what is meant in those circumstances.’Goal’ and ‘gaol‘ is one such example.

A goal is often a laudable ambition, something to aim for in life. We all need goals; they give purpose to our lives. An aimless, purposeless life will leave us frustrated and drifting.

A gaol is the old-fashioned spelling for a place of imprisonment (the more usual spelling these days is ‘jail’.) This is hardly something sensible people should aspire to. Yet if we are not careful, our goals can very easily become gaols. We can become prisoners of our own success as much as of our failures, allowing our aims and ambitions to become things which drive us beyond that which is healthy or prudent.

Oxford castle & gaol

Paul warned us that Christ died to set us free, but that we should not let anyone put a harness (or yoke) of slavery back on us. (Gal 5:1) Every time we become driven people, motivated by pride or envy or fear or anxiety, we are living in the gaol of our old lives instead of in the freedom Christ purchased for us.

May our goal always be to please God and to live a life of love, a life controlled by His Spirit and not to live imprisoned in our old ways of living (see Gal 5.) Freedom means pursuing right aims and goals, chiefly to follow the way of life where we seek to please God and serve Him through that life of love.

What’s your goal today?

What has become your gaol?

Christ holds the keys to set us free from all gaols and opens the door to freedom in Him.