07: Godly Goals

Godly Goals

This episode came in as a question from Dwayne Morris, “Let’s hear your perspective on goal-setting from a Biblical perspective. Is Jesus cool with me setting “my” goals?!?” (He also created the graphic for this post!)

The word on goals…

  • Proverbs 6:6-11
  • James 4:13-15
  • Matthew 6:32-34

Jesus on goals…

  • Mark 1:35-39
  • Luke 14:25-33

Peter, Ananias and Sapphira on goals…

  • Acts 5:4

Our ultimate goal…

  • 2 Corinthian 5:9

 

Transcript of the Episode

We’re in the full swing of the holiday season. I think I’ve just about maxed out my weight gain, and I’ve got to retarget, get back on track and get back on plan, which really brings us to the topic of today’s show, which is is it biblical to set my own goals.

We’re in the full swing of the holiday season. I think I’ve just about maxed out my weight gain, and I’ve got to retarget, get back on track and get back on plan, which really brings us to the topic of today’s show, which is is it biblical to set my own goals.

This question comes in from Dwayne Morris. You can visit him online at morrismatters.com.

“Paul, let’s hear your perspective on goal-setting from a biblical perspective. Is Jesus cool with me setting my goals?”

It’s a great question. Because, as believers, what we want to do what the Lord would have us do, right?

I had a friend of mine years ago, would not make a move unless he felt like he got an answer. It caused him to be unemployed for about six years. I was like, “Dude, it is not against the rules for you to go out and actually get a job. You will not be disobedient for making this type of decision.”

Does Jesus mind if I set my goals? Does the Father mind if I’ve got some dreams, personal dreams for my own life, personal directions for my own life? Or is everything supposed to be so centered on the spiritual that physically or even vocationally, or even dream-wise, goal-wise, and vision-wise, do I not get to own any of that myself?

Let’s see what scriptures says, because you guys know that that’s where I love to base as much as possible. Guess what? Scripture does not say a ton about goal-setting, and there’s not actually a step by step process laid out in scripture on here’s the proper way to set goals.

Yes. No. Maybe.

When we think about goals on the positive side, you’ve got something like Proverbs 6, 6 through 11, that says, “Go to the ant, o sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise. Without having any chief officer or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer, gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, o sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”

That seems to indicate that we need to be setting some goals, that we aren’t simply to be sitting around and hoping things happen, but that we need to be diligent. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit.” That sounds like we should set goals as well.

Then on the opposite side you’ve got something like James 4, 13 through 15. “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 don’t know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it’s the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'” That makes it sound like we shouldn’t set any goals, don’t make any plans, don’t claim anything yourself? If it’s the Lord’s will, then we will do those things. I think that’s a big hinging element of how we set our goals and why we set our goals.

Then you’ve got Matthew 6. Let’s look at verse 31. “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the pagans run after these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

First its the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. In other words, you don’t necessarily need to set any goals. God’s going to take care of you. Be focused on the spiritual. Seek first the kingdom and let that be it.

In three sections of scripture we see yes, set goals; no, don’t set goals; and it really doesn’t matter if you set goals or not, God’s going to take care of you.

What Would Jesus Do?

With those types of scriptures in play, sometimes it gets a little bit confusing about whether or not we should even set goals and whether or not God even cares what we do with our life. Is everything so spiritual that there’s nothing about the physical at all?

In Mark 1, we’ve got a picture of Christ where he spent the day healing, he spent the evening healing. He gets up early the next morning and it says that “very early in the morning while it was still dark,” this is Mark 1:35, “Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him. When they found him, they exclaimed, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ Jesus replied, ‘Well let us go somewhere else, to the nearby villages, so I can preach there also. This is why I have come.’”

Now if there’s anybody who knew his purpose, obviously it was Christ. If anybody was getting personal direction it was him. You can see that there was a process. There was a goal. There was an avenue. There was a direction. It wasn’t simply, “Hey, let’s just wake up today and just see what happens.”

He woke up and he prayed and he sought direction. That’s the direction that he went in. I think as far as goal-setting, from a biblical perspective, that’s what we do.

Whether it’s to lose weight, whether it is to increase income, whether it’s to grow spiritually, to grow in our personal relationships, the question is what is it that you want. What is it that you desire? If we look at the root of these things they are very common and practical.

Then we know if we’re operating this desire of the kingdom that the better shape we’re in, the more useful we’re going to be for the kingdom. The more money we make, the more useful we’ll be for the kingdom. Does God want us setting selfish goals that only impact us? I don’t think that’s biblical. But does he want us setting goals, moving forward, having vision, having purpose, having direction, even if it’s what “we” decide, if it’s going to bless the kingdom? Yeah, I think so.

I think he’s not intimidated by that, he’s not bothered by that. I think he’s given us that choice and that free will. Some people have been selected for specific purposes, have a very closely defined role on their life and purpose on their life.

Then there’s others that don’t receive that at all, even though it’s common theology that God has a wonderful plan for your life like it’s very individualized. We see throughout scripture that there were seemingly only a handful selected at a time.

You’ve got Moses who went into deliver the Israelites from Egypt, and it wasn’t like there were two million Moses. There was one. He had his brother Aaron leading with him. There was one that was called and others who had their choice, and their ability to live out their life the way they wanted.

Christ does some extended teaching on the cost of being a disciple, which indicates the principle of goal-setting.

Luke 14. “Large crowds traveled with Jesus. He turned to them and said, ‘If anyone comes after me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple.'” That’s pretty rough. Pretty strong, right? “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Verse 28 of Luke 14. “‘Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you’ve got enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying this person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.'”

How many times have we done that in our goal-setting? We started, we didn’t plan detailed enough. We came up against something that we weren’t prepared for and we weren’t able to finish it.

Verse 31. “‘Or suppose a king is about to go out to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything have cannot be my disciples.’”

The principle here, even though it’s ultimately about following Christ, it’s also about what happens in our life day to day. That we’ve got to count that cost. We’ve got to see what we’re up against. He’s not saying that it’s unholy to plan. It’s not wrong to count the cost. In fact, it’s wise. That’s a big part of the way that we’re supposed to live our lives.

Are You Calling Me a Gold Digger?

Then we’ve also got the picture of Ananias and Sapphira that is usually used as a an extremely negative example.

There’s one little piece that is often left out. We hear about them lying to the Holy Spirit, keeping that part of the proceeds, but we often miss this…

“Peter said, ‘While it was in your possession, wasn’t it yours to do with as you wanted?'” I

t wouldn’t have been wrong. It wouldn’t have been unholy. It wouldn’t have been sinful for them to sell their property, give half of it, give 20% of it, give 10% of it to the apostles and say, “Here’s what you guys get.” Because it wasn’t a hard and fast rule that you give up your land and give it all away. It was theirs.

Our lives, in one sense they’re not our own because we’ve handed them over to Christ. Yet, in another sense, they are our own to do with what we want. Hopefully we are setting goals and making decisions that are going to be focused on the kingdom. Does God want us setting goals? I think he does, but ultimately for his greater good and greater purpose.

I don’t think that he’s too pumped if we’re setting selfish goals that are only about us, only benefit us and don’t benefit others around us, for the cause of Christ and for the kingdom.

A Godly Goal

Let’s close out with 2 Corinthians 5:9. “We make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” Ultimately, our goal-setting, whatever it has to deal with, whether it’s physical, financial, intellectual, spiritual, relational; everything that we’re doing in our life is ultimately to be about his purpose and about his will.

Some of you guys may be blessed enough to receive direct word. This is exactly what you’re supposed to do.

Others of us may not receive that direct word, but we still set those goals. We still have that dream. We still have that vision to ultimately be able to live that life, the life that God desires, the life that God wants for the greater good, for the kingdom, and for life to the full.

Live Full!
Paul

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