Establishing and Maintaining Spiritual GoalsJune 26, 2015
“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in,” said C.S. Lewis, “aim at earth and you will get neither.” Having goals is one thing, having the right kind of goals is something altogether different. Many have successfully climbed the proverbial ladder only to reach the top and realize it was leaning on the wrong wall. The epitome of failure is to succeed at those things that make no difference in eternity. That is why we need to maintain the course of our lives with spiritual pursuits. Call it what you will–resolutions, objectives, pledges, or goals–such endeavors help us to stay accountable in our spiritual development.
Right now in this very moment allow me to ask you a question: What are your spiritual goals? Perhaps in your heart and mind you have tried to set goals for your daily walk:
- Read your Bible daily
- Spend more time in prayer
- Witness to others about your salvation
- Give more faithfully to God’s kingdom
- Listen to godly music
- Lead a loved one to Christ
- Separate from particular sins
- Embrace God’s call in your life
I am sure you have found in your own life that establishing goals is easy; keeping them is the difficult part. So what can we do to experience some measure of success in our spiritual goal-setting?
1. Assess your current spiritual condition
When you turn on your GPS, the navigator leads you to you desired destination from your present location. You have to begin right where you are. The reason we so often struggle spiritually is because we do not want to be honest about our spiritual condition. We need to come clean in certain areas and find our true spiritual bearings. It is only then we can begin to head in a clear and precise direction.
2. Establish specific goals and write them down
It’s not enough to say “I want to do a better job at reading my Bible.” You must ask: How many verses can I learn in a month’s time? How do I plan to spiritually benefit? What time of the day can be set aside for reading? What verses can be memorized this week? How can I apply this particular passage to my life? Whatever the spiritual goal may be (Bible-reading, witnessing, prayer, passing out tracts), make sure it is specific enough so that you can measure your success in some capacity.
3. Rely on the Holy Spirit to aid and assist you
If you are setting financial goals you would probably read financial books and possibly have a financial advisor. If you were to establish physical goals, you might join a gym and have a personal trainer. Well, the only way to accomplish spiritual goals is to have a Spiritual Counselor. The Holy Spirit, and our total reliance upon Him, will be the empowering Agent in our successes. I have discovered in my own life that when I fail to lean upon the Spirit I am typically achieving goals that have little value in heaven.
4. Remain optimistic and driven on days of spiritual adversity
“Get ready to go for God” my grandfather used to say, “and the devil will go with you.” In his book, Understanding Leadership, Tom Marshall declared, “Our capacity to stand the pain depends on the attraction of the goals we have in view.” Sometimes to achieve our goals we must, with gritty fortitude, prepare ourselves for setbacks, failures, disappointment and fatigue. Embrace your goals with the end in view. As Paul said, we must keep pressing toward the mark for the prize. Don’t give up on days of defeat.
5. Understand the ultimate reality of all spiritual goals
The ultimate and superior reality of all spiritual goals is to simply be with Christ. When Peter stepped off the boat and onto the water it wasn’t so he could become an iconic superstar water-walker. His goal was to get to Jesus, walking on the water was just the means to that end. Any and all goals will be miserably pursued if they, at their core, do not press us to Christ. Being with Jesus is the eternal reality of the believer’s existence. Set goals with that wonderful quest in mind and you will never be disappointment with your discovery.