“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 3:13-14
Wow! We have just completed 2014 and are starting a new year afresh. It is time to look forward and leave lost causes and failed promises behind. I am sure many of you have spoken or even written New Year’s Resolutions, setting goals for yourself in many areas of your life. Or, maybe you just went through the ritual of making New Year’s Resolutions because that is the thing to do. There may not even be any commitment to keeping the resolution but it feels good and sounds good to do it. I will openly confess; I do not make New Year’s Resolutions. I believe they are more often a set-up for failure. However, I do set goals for myself throughout the year or whenever I know I need to focus on something and/or target something that I need to overcome or accomplish in my life, or if there is something I have aspired or God has directed me to do. Goal setting is a good thing and something that we should all participate in with much prayer, supplication and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
What is goal setting? Why is it important to set goals? How do I set goals? What do I need to do to accomplish my goals?
Please know that goal setting is right in the sight of God. He tells us Himself to set our sight on what it is we want to accomplish. Salvation itself is a goal we must focus on. Philippians 2:12 tells us to “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” So, not only do we set salvation as a goal but it is one we are reminded in scripture that we must work towards. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling…” We must pursue it, actively keeping it in our consciousness daily. Two more scripture references I believe are important in giving us context for understanding the importance of goal setting are Habakkuk 2:2 and Proverbs 29:18. First, God told Habakkuk to, “… Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” A goal is a vision for your future. A goal is something you are striving for; striving to become; longing to do. If you do not write it down and make it plain, it is very difficult to pursue it. Second, God speaks through the Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Without vision, without goals, we wither away; we perish. We must have vision; we must have goals. This is not just a vile saying; these are not New Year’s resolutions that we spew out from habit never to accomplish; but they are visions of purpose of life; or pursuit.
What are you striving for? Who do you want to become? What do you want to accomplish in life? What do you want to accomplish next week? What do you want to accomplish tomorrow? What is your vision for you?
One of my goals is to become daily, more like Jesus. It is a vision that I have of myself that I pray will eventually be realized in my daily walk and talk on this earth, and most importantly when He returns and I am transformed from mortality to immortality to become as He is. In order to accomplish this goal, I must first set it as a goal; write it down literally and figuratively (having a mindfulness of being like Jesus); and it must become my vision for life. This is what is called a lifelong goal; one that you pursue daily and forever. In order to accomplish this lifelong goal I must identify the things that will bring it to fruition in my life. What is it that will make me successful at becoming more like Jesus? The answer to this process lies in the Word of God. Most if not all of you can probably recite right now what many of these steps are. First and foremost, I must know Christ. Second and as important as knowing Him, I must know and exemplify His love. Then naturally you know that I must read the Word of God and pray, praise Him, and walk in His way (His Word). Not only has the vision/goal been made plain, but also the instructions for accomplishing the goal.
I hope the example given above is clear and helpful. Now, let’s apply the same concept to a personal goal that addresses some of our daily struggles. I will use one that many of us can relate to and many people claim for a New Year’s resolution annually: I want to lose weight. First, let’s examine this goal. Is it practical? Is it a commitment to change? Is it life long? Is there vision? The key is that we do not want to set goals that are already set-up for failure; that are not substantive; that do not have vision. So, as you set goals, you must examine them and identify the vision for yourself, your family, your relationship (whatever the goal is related to). What does successfully accomplishing this goal look like and how do I get to that vision?
So, I want to lose weight. Do I see myself as a size 2? What does losing weight look like; what is the vision? What does losing weight mean to me? What does losing weight do for me? Or, is the vision, I want to see myself healthy? If that is the vision, you begin to reestablish your goal. Instead of saying I want to lose weight – this may be a result of the actual goal but it is not the goal – your goal becomes I want to be healthy and feel good. Or, I want to become more healthy and lower my blood pressure; blood sugar; keep diabetes under control; be totally delivered from diabetes. This goal is lifelong and is a daily walk; a daily vision. Is this making sense? When you clarify your goal to make it become a vision for life it becomes more practical and doable. When you focus on just losing weight; the practicality escapes because your focus is narrow and the vision is not made plain. When your goal becomes your vision (your sight), your pursuit is active and alive; and tangible. When the question is asked in terms of your goal/vision, what do you want to become; your response is clearer. I want to become healthy.
This same concept can be applied to any goal you set; financial goals; career goals; relationship goals; travel goals; and more. See it; visualize it; write it down; make it plain; then run with it, with patience and perseverance. If you veer off the path your instructions are very close and in plain sight to help you get back on the path. Proverbs 21:5 (ESV) says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”
There is so much more I want to say about goal setting but it must wait until the next Blog Post as God leads me and give me direction and Words. With that being said, I must end with this: Acknowledge God in all your Goal Setting. Allow Him to breathe vision into your life and for all that He has for you. He tells us in His Word and I embrace every ounce of it, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Ask God to give you a vision for abundant life and ask Him to show you how to live this abundant life. I believe your goals and vision for life will come through this prayer. I believe you will be able to write your vision as the Spirit of God transmits life and energy in your goals. You see God has goals for us too. God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 (GNT), “I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.” Wow!
Next Blog Post: A God Inspired Goal