Many people react to the word goals, it seems secular, mostly about making more money, and sort of opposite the spirit-led faith walk. Repentance is a good Bible word, and the Bible says that Jesus went everywhere preaching, “repent”. When He sent His disciples out to preach in all the towns of Israel, he told them to say, “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand”. Repent means to change. We first change in our thinking, and acknowledge that we are acting wrong, then we make a commitment or decision in our mind and heart to change and then we change our behavior. That sounds just like goal setting to me. Another Biblical work is faith. Hebrews 11 defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of thing not yet seen”. Think about and meditate on that verse for 30 minutes, and you recognize that “hoped for” and “not yet seen” are in the future, and that “assurance” and “conviction” is strong confidence in a future accomplishment or event. A goal is a statement of faith. Jesus said that if you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could move mountains. We all want to grow stronger in our faith. Goals are the weights that cause our faith to grow strong. A goal is a commitment to repent. A goal is a statement of faith. That doesn’t sound secular to me, in fact it sounds very pleasing to God.
there are some critical requirements for goals to work effectively in our life. Lukewarmness is a major problem in every person’s life. One of the wonders of goal setting is how effective they are to start fires in people’s hearts. God is really not into helping any person who is passive about doing something with their life that matters, nor is He going to do much for the person who is lazy, and constantly praying and asking God to fix his problems and make life easier.
(1) Our potential goals need to be thought about a lot, visualized, pondered on, meditated on, and see what happens to your interest, desire and passion to accomplish the goal. There isn’t much worse in life than pursuing a goal that you really don’t want to do. With me and most that I counsel and teach about goal setting 30 days of mulling over the possible goal results in our passion growing or getting weaker. If it gets weaker postpone the pursuit of that one for another time. You want your goals to be the desires of your heart. I believe a key way God guides me is by putting His will in my heart as a desire. The desires God gives me get stronger as I think and dream about them.
(2) we need to pray about the choosing of our goals, and we need to use our list of goals as a prayer list for the year, daily praying for our goals is good. The Gospel of John has some amazing promises in regards to prayer. In John 15:7-8 Jesus says, “If you abide in Me and My Words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you”. “whatever I wish”, that is the desire that is me that God put there. Cool, God puts a desire in me because He wants to give it to me or accomplish it through me, and when I pray He does it. We tend to think of prayer as us asking and God doing, but when we pray God gives us the will and the power to make it happen.
Each of us has a level of “want” in us. That level is what determines more than anything else whether we accomplish a lot with our life or just mow the lawn. You are not born with it, you grow it inside of you. Those who want the most, do the most, they sacrifice the most, they pray the most.
Most people are not “pressing on to maturity” as the Bible in Hebrews 6 says we ought to do. Most just let life do whatever it wants in the sense of what happens to our character. A good exercise is to examine our life in various areas and give ourselves a grade from 1 to 10. How is my marriage? How is my health? How am I doing as a Dad? How am I doing on managing time? How am I doing managing my temper? There are dozens of other questions a person could ask as they examined their own life. Once the score is given then we ask ourselves “what can I do to improve myself from an 8 to a 6 this next year?” Take my wife on a date once a month. Take each of my kids on a date once a month. Join a gym with a friend. Take an on-line course on time management. It really isn’t hard to do both of these steps and the result would be steady growth in a variety of areas in our life.
The reason very few take these two simple steps is because it is our nature to hide from our weaknesses so we don’t want to look at ourselves honestly for the purpose of growing. Also we fear failure so much we don’t want to make a goal to improve because we might not accomplish it. So we go through life in a plateaued, mediocre state of living accomplishing little with our life that really matters.
Goals are an incredibly powerful and effective tool to use to change our character, our habits, and our attitudes. If you are unsure how to go about setting goals and pursuing them find someone who is skilled at it and have them coach you. Learning how to set meaningful goals for your life on a regular basis is the key to becoming a champion for Jesus.
Isaiah 25:1 O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
One of the things that I often hear from people is that “goal setting” is secular, not Biblical. God is a goal setter. Everything that God has ever done has been premeditated and planned before He did it. All of prophecy are the goals of God for the future. It is God’s nature to plan, He is Sovereign over all, He is Teleological, He controls everything, even the future.
So, another “push back” on goal setting is that God is Sovereign, therefore I will just let Him do what He has planned, and go along for the ride. God gives us responsibility, he gives us a piece of His Sovereignty as it were, He declares us stewards and calls us to be faithful. In Matthew 25:21 Jesus gives “Talents” to 3 stewards and then holds them accountable. The first two were faithful and He said, “you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things”. We are created in the image and likeness of God, and we function best when we function like God.
God’s will for us is that we “bear much fruit”. When we bear some fruit He prunes us so that we can bear more fruit, and more fruit, and much fruit. When we bear fruit we prove to be His disciples and we bring glory to His name. Some bear fruit, most do not. Those who do not often think that it is because they don’t have the giftedness, the talent, the intelligence, the resources, the opportunity, and on the list goes. But the reason that most do not bear much fruit is because they don’t choose to.
A goal is a choice to do something significant with our life that we believe is God’s will for us, and our choosing and resolve is strong enough to write it down on a piece of paper, and read it everyday.
Proverbs 16:3. Commit your works to the Lord And your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:9. The mind of man plans his way, And the Lord directs his steps.
It is only a couple weeks now before the new year, a perfect time to start some new goals. The first and most important goal ought to be a Bible reading goal. Read 15 minutes a day and you can read the Bible through. Pray 15 minutes a day and you can pray the church prayer letter In a week, your family every day, lost people every day, and your personal needs, goals, and struggles every day. If you read and pray 30 minutes most every day you will never backslide, and God will bless you with strength, joy, peace, wisdom, and opportunities to do something significant with your life. Make a goal to pray with your spouse which is the most proactive thing you can do to have a great marriage. Make a goal to lose weight, to exercise, to read a book a month. A dozen is a good number of goals
Write your goals down in complete, easy to read sentences, and read them every day. If you have a dozen goals it takes 60 seconds to read them, but by reading them every day you improve the probability of accomplishing them 100%. It is almost impossible not accomplish a goal that you read every day.
Proverbs 15:3. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.
Patty, my wife, is easily spooked. If she is standing at the sink doing something and I walk up behind her and say “Hi”, she will scream, jump, and act like I did it on purpose. My response is usually something like this, “I guess I could hang a bell around my neck so that you would know where I am at”. Patty’s lack of awareness of my presence is a problem that most Christians have with God. If God were to manifest His presence and say “Hi”, most would jump,out of their skin. But if quizzed these same Bible believing Christians would answer, “God is everywhere, and He is certainly here right now”. So what we believe in our head doesn’t necessarily mean that we really know it. The phrase “Fear the Lord” is used a lot in the Bible, and there are over a dozen significant promises given to those who really do fear the Lord. My favorite one is “the angel of God encamps around those who fear the Lord”. The starting point in fearing God is to be aware of His presence. You know He is with You, sees everything that you do, hears everything that you say, and knows everything that you think, as much as if you could actually see Him. When this is true in your life you will live life more carefully because you want to please Him, you live life with more confidence because you know He will take care of you, you live life with more peace, with more joy, and with a growing sense of worth and value because if God is with me and watching me 24/7 I must be pretty special. How does a person go about growing in the fear of the Lord? Read your Bible every day, and spend time with God in prayer every day. The simple discipline of reading the Bible 15 minutes every day and praying for 15 minutes every day will result in a steadily growing “fear of the Lord” in your heart. It is almost January 1st, make this your main goal for the new year.
Monday, my two sons Sam and Seth and I killed and butchered a black angus steer that weighed about 1,400 lbs. Today, most of the kids and grandkids came over and we cut and wrapped the whole steer. It is a lot of fun to do such a big project with all the family involved and helping. I built a big table out in my shop where we had hung the beef from the rafters on Monday. With one of the quarters on the table at a time we would surround it and hack away. We would cut out the roasts and steaks first and then cut all the rest of the meat off of the bones and run it through our little Cabella’s 2 horse meat grinder. The meat was weighed and wrapped and then stacked into one of our 3 freezers. We got a lot of really nice meat for all of our family , and the really nice thing was it was free. God does bless, and take care of us. Several of the grandsons wanted to help with the cutting, so ai let them but kept telling them to be really careful with those razor sharp knives, and then I cut my finger bad and bled all over everything. Oh well, now they know what not to do. Thank You Lord for a very nice day, and thank You for Your provisions for us.
Hebrews 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
I am looking forward with great anticipation to eternity with God. I will have a body like Jesus, it won’t age, ache, get stiff, get fat, or be senile. I will have a mind that remembers everything, and can think like Jesus. I will be with Jesus and fellowship with Him forever. There won’t be any disease, war, politics, death, sin, elections, taxes or conflicts of any kind. It really is impossible to comprehend such a place even in our wildest imaginations. I think about heaven a lot now, and try to visualize what it will be like,in every way.
Very few people really think much about eternity because it seems to unreal, almost like a fairy tale. I believe that God is pleased when we think a lot about being with Him and eternity, and as we do He will work in our heart and make it seem more and more real. I choose to think about my life after death so much that the result is total freedom from the fear of death or any disease that would result in death.
I am not wishing or wanting to go sooner than God’s plan, and I am wanting to bear as much fruit as possible before I am done serving God in this life. I have my eyes on the finish line and I am not going to coast across but sprint as fast as I can. The more real eternity is in my mind and heart, the stronger my faith in the coming life, the more joy, enthusiasm, and freedom I will live each day here.
Almost every person would like to manage their time better. We all have 168 hours in a week, we are exactly the same. But there are those people that we know that seem to get twice as much done in their day as we do. There is a reason that they do, and those reasons are consistant principles of time management. Time management has to do with what we have accomplished in a given amount of time that matters . The most significant principle of all that there are is to keep careful records of all that you do each day. On a simple spread sheet put areas of work and life across the top, and down the side put the dates. Each day put in the amount of time you spent on each area, and then once each week total the amount of time under each area of work and life. Do this religiously every night before you go to bed. Keeping track of our time makes us much more aware of how we waste our time, and also there comes a growing desire to do better. I have kept track of how I spend my time for many years now. This daily discipline helps me keep my life in balance between the different areas of responsibility. Manage time well and you can go fishing!
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.
I am pretty sure that pride is my biggest struggle in life. We all see it in others quite easily , but we don’t see it in ourselves very well. The lack of humility and the presence of pride shows up in our life in so many different ways. I think just about every character flaw that we could have has pride as it’s source or cause. In the Bible it seems like pride is the most disliked character flaw by God. God wars against the proud, he is apposed to the proud, He punishes the proud, He resists the proud, and He doesn’t listen to the prayers of the proud. God causes us to fail in life to try and make us humble. God will cause people to insult us to try and keep us humble. God will bring physical sickness into our life to try and keep us from exalting ourselves. Life would be so much more enjoyable if I could just get this humble thing figured out on my own so I don’t have to learn it through God’s school. I think about my attitude and behavior often trying to become a humble man. As I think about the day in the evening I often groan as I recall words and actions that were obviously driven by pride, and I feel ashamed and embarrassed by my obvious immaturity, and hope not to many people noticed. Sunday evening is the worst time for me as I think about and remember the weekend at church and things I said and did. Oh Lord, how in the world are You going to use me and bless me as a pastor when I am so driven by self glorification. I will confess, repent, and give it it another try tomorrow.