Christians and Goal Setting
Can Christians Set Goals?
Jas 4:13-17 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— (14) yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (15) Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (16) As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (17) So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
- Many might read this passage and mistakenly think: I guess setting goals is bad.
- On the contrary, James is against arrogantly planning to do things without considering:
- That the Lord sustains all life.
- That we deserve to die in our sins.
- That we should seek to conform our plans to the commands of the Lord (his will).
- This passage might also be about giving false appearances to look good, look rich, and self-aggrandize while looking down on the poor and the seemingly more sinful. This can be seen here:
- Jas 4:1-4 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (2) You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. (3) You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (4) You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
- Jas 4:9-12 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. (10) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (11) Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. (12) There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
- Jas 5:1-4 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. (2) Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. (3) Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. (4) Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
- Jas 5:12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
In Fact Christians Should Set Goals (Poverbs 2:11):
- We are creatures within time.(Psalm 90:12)
- We are creatures made up of habits. (Romans 6:1-8:13)
- We are creatures designed to exhibit habits that approach the goodness of God. (Mark 10:45, 12:29-31, 1 Corinthians 10:30-11:1, Ephesians 5:1-2, 2 Peter 1:3-11)
- We are individuals with tasks, callings, and experiences specific to us. (Gen 1:27, 1 Corinthians 12)
- Self-improvement is not sinful…if done in the right way it is a Biblical command. (Prov 19:8)
- To live in time, to develop Godly habits, and to use our experiences, perform our tasks, and live up to our callings we must make plans and goals to do so.
Christians: Have you planned to walk away from sin? Have you planned ahead to, not just do, but to become good? Do you do good, not just off the cuff, but because you devised a way to do so.
Make Useful Goals (Paul Meyer is the source of this system)
- Timed (short and long term)
- Recoverable (added by Geoff)
- Make categorized goals:
- General Character and Maturity (keeping a clean room/car, turning in all papers at least one week early, waking up early enough to not have to rush to work or school, only watch television one night a week, etc)
- Financial (save 300 dollars a month, only eat out once a week, make a budget, etc)
- Fitness (run a 6 minute mile by June, do one hundred push-ups by November, only eat sweets on Saturdays, etc)
- Spiritual Goals (pray the Lord’s prayer every day, read one chapter of Proverbs a day, visit the station every Wednesday, plan a short term mission trip, meet with an accountability partner every Sunday before church, etc)
- Academic/Career Goals (practice my skill an extra two hours a day, write a blog post every day when I’m not writing papers, sit with boss and ask what it will take to move up by July, study one hour a night starting seven days before every test, etc)
- Enrichment Goals (read a classic novel every month, take piano lessons, learn to knit, go for a long walk every Tuesday, etc)
Every goals takes steps. Never create a goal without steps in mind.
Think about goals that you need and want to set for yourself in order that you might live for God’s glory and for the purpose of attaining to the good.