I like making to-do lists.
I write daily lists and I schedule things on my desk and phone calendar for future tasks and events. I also make goals for the year. After jotting down my chores, tasks, and goals,
I feel organized and in control,
that is until…I don’t complete all the checkoffs on my lists.
Then I feel defeated.
It’s kind of the same way with New Year’s resolutions. I like the idea “in theory.”
Recently I was talking to the Lord and decide to include Him in on my goals for 2018—a novel idea, right!
This actually isn’t a new thing for me. The last several years in December, I ask God for His help with goals, meaningful Scriptures or words for the next year.
This year was different, however.
Although I have never heard an audible voice from God, He does impress thoughts that always, always line up with Scripture. Many times He directs me to a specific Scripture passage. Often He will bring confirmation later in the day or the next several days. It might be that I hear a song with the same message or hear a sermon or possibly another person will speak to me about the very thing I heard from God. This helps me know I have heard His voice.
But this time, whenever I prayed, God impressed upon my thoughts,
“What is most important?”
Of course, my answer was, “You, God.”
So I started to ponder if goals are important to God. I searched Scripture and guess what?
Yes, goals are important to God.
God’s word offers a balanced approach to goal setting that includes wisdom and humility.
“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5
“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” Proverbs 6:6-8
Jesus’ words about a construction project illustrate the need to set goals before starting to build.
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”
However, just because we’ve done our planning doesn’t guarantee meeting our goals will be successful.
We must infuse humility into our process of setting goals.
James teaches, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:13-14)
The Bible teaches against two extremes when setting goals.
One: not making goals at all. Two: setting goals without consulting God.
Each day is a gift from God. It makes sense that we would ask Him how He wants us to spend the time He has given us. The proper balance to setting goals is found in James 4:15. “What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
When I looked up synonyms for the word ‘goal’, I found words like, aim, aspire, seek.
Then it dawned on me: SEEK.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
God and our relationship with Him should be what we seek FIRST.
Yes, it sounds simple enough. But how many times are we in a hurry to get to work, to run errands, to do household chores, to check out Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ESPN, and to finally have time to rest?
You get the picture. Our days are filled with responsibilities and activities that scream for our attention often disguising themselves as priorities.
Is there anything more of a priority than God?
You cannot go wrong with a goal to “seek first His kingdom.”
For when we put God first, we have at our fingertips His great and glorious promises and what is necessary to do all that pleases Him (2 Peter 1:3-4). We have things like: wisdom, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, faith, contentment, blessings, favor, and so much more.
When we do not put God first we forfeit those amazing things. We then end up choosing counterfeits and come away empty.
When it comes to our spiritual lives, there are only two options: moving forward or sliding backward. There is no standing still.
If we want to move and grow spiritually in 2018, it will start with seeking God first.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Let’s chat! Share your 2018 goals in the comments below.
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In Christ’s love,
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