Tag Archives: setting goals

Focusing On Heavenly Things

One of the things I talk to people about pretty often is dreams versus goals. All of us have dreams whether it’s a nicer house, car, job, vacation, etc. We love to dream because it’s easy. It requires nothing of us to think of what could be. What we don’t like doing is setting a goal, planning, sacrificing and working towards it. That requires focus and determination through distractions and disappointments, but it’s the only way to turn dreams into reality. I have several highly motivated friends who are wired to be goal oriented. They write them down, put them where they can see them, talk about those goals and think of ways to accomplish them. It’s hard to have a conversation with them without their goals coming up. They’re always on their mind. They don’t just dream. They do.

When I read Colossians 3:2, it reminds me of my goal oriented friends. It says, “Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]” (AMP). When we have our mind set on something and we habitually think about it, we can’t help but move towards it. God is wanting us to not just have our mind set on things here, but to also be consumed with heavenly things. How often do you think of heavenly things throughout your day? How often do you consider what it would look like if His Kingdom were to come and His will were to be done on earth as it is in Heaven? We need to be thinking of those heavenly things first and seeking them for our world constantly.

We quote Matthew 6:31, but do we really hear what it’s saying? Read it again. Jesus said, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.” We need to be thinking of His Kingdom first instead of our own. It is the most important thing. We like the last part of that verse where all these things will be given to us, but the price for that is to be constantly keeping our mind habitually focused on the things above (His Kingdom). God has no problem with us working on our own goals and living the life He created us to live. However, that needs to come secondary to His Kingdom. We need to be living and thinking with eternity in mind and focused on the things God desires.

Photo by Chetan Menaria on Unsplash

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Dreaming Too Small

Late last year, I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with some high capacity, driven men. We spent the weekend praying, dreaming, discussing and planning what God wanted to do through us as individuals in our families, churches, communities and businesses. After we would write down what we felt like we wanted to do in any of those areas, we would come together in small groups to discuss the direction and goal. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to mention a goal to their group and then be challenged about it. Someone might say, “Do you think that’s a big enough goal?” It wasn’t ever done out of spite. It was done to challenge us to see if we were limiting God in what He was dreaming for our lives.

I’m a firm believer that God has dreams, goals and plans for each of our lives. If only we had eyes to see what He sees in us. Too many times our vision or goals are minuscule in comparison to what He wants to do through us. We limit ourselves because we focus on our weaknesses and roadblocks. Those things in our lives are not meant to hold us back, but rather to get us to trust in God and His all sufficient grace. A life of faith is not about what we can accomplish on our own, but rather what can God accomplish through us as a willing vessel. If we could do it on our own, we wouldn’t need faith, and most of what God wants to do through each one of us requires faith.

So what is it you’re asking God to do for you or through you? Is that too small? Think of Ephesians 3:20 which says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (NLT). God is able to do infinitely more through you than you can even ask or think! Any of the dreams or goals we set are small by those standards. One of the prayers I’ve started praying is, “God plant your goals and dreams in me, then help me to reach the potential you see in my life. Help me to accomplish the goals and dreams you have for my life.” If what He wants to do through me is infinitely greater, then I’ll willingly give up my dreams for His so I can live a life of purpose that completes His objectives for my life.

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

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Changing Lives

When today draws to a close, the whole world will celebrate another year gone. But this isn’t just a year passing, it’s also a decade (and a score as my son will tell you). It’s a time for looking back as well as ahead. Where were you in 2010? What was happening in your life? Are you better off now than then? Are you where you thought you’d be? Had you given any thought to where you wanted to be ten years later? A lot can change in a decade that is out of our control, but there’s also a lot that you and I can control. Looking forward and dreaming about what God wants to do through you is one of those things.

We know Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows the plans He has for us, but do we know the plans we have for ourselves? As a Christian, it’s important to be proactive with our lives. We can’t afford to just go with the flow. You were created with purpose on purpose. Unless you set goals, make a plan, create practical steps to achieve and measure your progress in that plan, you may find yourself in 2030 no where near where you want to be having lost a decade. Where do you want to be 10 years from now? What are some major things you want to accomplish? What would you like God to do through you in that time?

The Golden Rule In Matthew 7:12 tells us to treat others the way we want to be treated. Do you have a goal for how you want to treat others going forward? Romans 15:2 says, “Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity” (TPT). Think of ways you can empower others in your life, and do something daily to do it. You don’t have to do something big, but through your consistent, small actions, you can make a world of difference in the lives of people around you. Seek God on what He would like to do through you to empower others each day so that you can help them reach their goals and spiritual maturity. In ten years, you can change countless lives, but it starts with a choice, a plan and an action.

Photo by Eddy Billard on Unsplash

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Dreams And Goals

I like to ask people, “What’s the difference between a dream and a goal?” A lot of people struggle with this question at first because it’s hard to articulate on the spot. But think about it for a second. They’re very similar with one exception. A goal is something you have a plan for in order to accomplish it. Dreams are usually large goals without a plan. The problem is most of us think we have set goals when really all we have done is created a bunch of dreams without a plan to accomplish them.

The people I know who are goal oriented aren’t easily swayed into doing things that don’t align with their goals. They know exactly what they need to do in order to accomplish them and they are pretty disciplined. Dreamers aren’t as disciplined. They live with their heads in the clouds and are easily knocked off course by distractions. Unfortunately that’s the way many of us live our lives and it bleeds into our faith as well. We’re living for Christ without a purpose, and that’s dangerous.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24, Paul mentions that in a race, everyone runs, but only one wins. He then tells us to run to win. Verse 26 says, “Therefore I do not run without a definite goal” (AMP). Not only are we to run to win the ultimate prize, we are to run with purpose. We are to run with goals. To keep from being easily distracted by all this world has to offer, and to keep our head out of the clouds, we need to have spiritual goals. There’s no other way for us to have the impact on this world that we’re called to have. God has a purpose and a plan for you that only you can fulfill. Don’t go through life without accomplishing all God has planned for you. Set goals, make a plan and start doing things today that move you towards fulfilling your purpose.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Training For Godliness – Goals And Gear

Each year, I take one week off from writing to help me refresh and reset. This is that week. To help you stay faithful to your daily devotional time, I’m bringing back a series I wrote a few years ago on disciplines we as Christians need to have. Enjoy and I’ll be back next week with all new devotions.


Setting Goals

The next important step in spiritual discipline is setting goals. Each of us set goals in our daily lives whether it’s for work, retirement, our family or leisure. Why don’t we set spiritual goals? Proverbs 21:5 says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity.” (NLT) We need to plan out our spiritual growth. Where do you want to be in your walk with God one year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? What would that look like?

It’s going to take hard work to achieve those goals. Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen over night. It takes time, planning, dedication and hard work. I also encourage you to write out your goals. Read them out loud every day. Tell yourself where you’re going and keep your eye on the prize. Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” (NKJV) You are not running a sprint race. You’re running a marathon. If you’re going to run, you need to write it down and read it so you can continue to run in the hard times! Having the right goals for the right reasons will help you to be successful. A few months ago I wrote an entire post on setting spiritual goals. You can read it here.

Wearing The Right Gear

In physical training and exercise, the right gear is of utmost importance. Your gear can help you or hinder you. In I Samuel 17:38 – 40 we read where David was about to go out to fight Goliath. Saul wanted David to be dressed for battle so he put his own armor on him. The Message says that “David tried to walk around but he could hardly budge… Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five stones from the brook, and he put them in his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.”

Knowing what gear you need to be spiritually disciplined is key. While Saul’s armor was too big, God’s armor is just right. It was tailor made for you! Ephesians 6 tells us that we are not fighting against flesh and blood so physical armor won’t do any good. We need spiritual armor. It also tells us that we should put on God’s complete armor. Half way dressed for this won’t cut it. You will be in trouble quickly unless you fully suit up.

In a marathon, your shoes are one of your most important pieces. It’s the same in our spiritual race too. Ephesians 6:15 says, “And having shod your feet in preparation to face the enemy with firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news of the Gospel of peace.” (AMP) If you’re going to resolve to be spiritually fit and to grow spiritually, you need to be prepared to face some opposition from the enemy. You need the Word of God to help you keep your footing while you are fighting. Jesus used the Word of God to keep His footing while being tempted and you should too.

Tomorrow, we will look at having the proper nutrition and staying hydrated.

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