Have you set goals for yourself this year? If not, I encourage you to do so. You may not be able to reach every goal but setting them will challenge you to, at the minimum, strive for them. The importance of planning and setting goals is addressed many times throughout the Bible, here is one example in Proverbs 21:5 (NKJV):
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.
It is important to plan. It is important to set goals for your life. God will bless your diligence and faithfulness.
Experts say that there are 7 different areas in which we should set goals for ourselves:
- Physical Goals – lose weight, run a marathon, join a gym
- Intellectual Goals – read a book a month, do online study, learn a new language
- Career Goals – work towards getting a raise or a promotion, change careers
- Social Goals – make more friends, spend time with people, join a club
- Financial Goals – get out of debt, pay off some of your home loan, save
- Family Goals – plan a family holiday, call Mum & Dad more, surprise your spouse
- Spiritual Goals – read through the Bible, disciple someone, pray more
They also say that your goals should be specific and measurable. So instead of just pray more, set a length of time you would like to pray each day as well as when you are going to pray and where.
The American poet Bill Copeland commented on the importance of setting goals, he said:
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.
Tony Robbins, the inspirational speaker and life coach, had this to say about goals:
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
It is important to set goals in your life so that you are aiming at something rather than nothing. But in the process of setting these goals and making these plans we cannot forget to ask the Lord, what are your plans for my life? Where do You want me to go? What do You want me to do?
We must seek His will for our lives because God does have a plan for your life. He has a specific purpose in store for you. A purpose that is more important than just making money, working a satisfying job or buying a house. A purpose that can allow us to live a life full of meaning that will have eternal value!
That is what Jesus was referring to in Matthew 6:19-21, when He said:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus was imploring us not to focus so much on building wealth and success because those things fade away but He was challenging us to focus on the eternal things; the things in life that really matter.
It is not wrong to be wealthy and it is not wrong to be successful. But it is wrong to build wealth and have success at the expense of fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.
So, how do I discover God’s will, or purpose, for my life?
The keys are found in Psalm 37:4-5. The Psalmist writes:
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
The first thing we must do is take DELIGHT in our relationship with God. The way we take delight in our relationship with God is through prayer and worship.
Prayer is the very foundation of our relationship with God. It is the lifeblood of our Christian walk. Prayer, put simply, is communication with God. It is through times of prayer that we draw closer to God. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Philippi and told them in Philippians 4 (Amplified Version):
Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.
In every situation, in every circumstance, it is important to pray. We cannot only pray when we are feeling good or only run to God in prayer when things are going bad but we must communicate with Him regularly.
Paul would also instruct the Colossians to ‘Devote themselves to prayer, keeping alert in it…’
He was saying, stay focused in your prayer life…commit yourself to it! Make it a priority in your life.
I heard a preacher once say that there are stages to your prayer life. It begins as your duty to pray, then it becomes your desire to pray and then finally it becomes your delight to pray. At first, it may be something that you force yourself to do because you know it is the right thing to do but the more you pray, the more you will desire to pray and ultimately it will become your source of joy.
We also find delight in God through living a life of worship. It is through worship that we experience His presence and He draws close to us. Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4 that:
The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
God desires us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. That means we are to worship with our heart and our mind, our emotions and our understanding.
When we delight ourselves in God then He begins to give us the desires of our heart. That doesn’t mean that we will receive everything that we desire but rather that God will start giving us desires. We will begin to desire the things that God desires. His dreams will become our dreams and His plans will becomes our plans!
The second thing we must do is commit our way to the Lord. We have to remain committed in 2019! We have to make a decision from the outset of this year that we are going to commit our lives to God. That we are going to be committed to prayer, worship, reading His Word, attending Church, and loving and serving one another
The final thing we must do if we do if we want to see God’s plan fulfilled in our lives is trust in the Lord. After we have found our delight in God and committed our ways to the Lord, we must put our trust in Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 puts it this way:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
If we put our trust in the Lord and not try to do everything ourselves, through our own knowledge and understanding, then His Word promises that He will direct our paths. It is only through trusting God that you will find your true purpose.
Everything in life may not go perfectly to plan but in those situations we can put our trust in the Lord because we know that He is the one directing our path. He is the one that knows what the future holds for each and every one of us.
In 2019, we can have a year like no other if we delight ourselves in God, commit our way to Lord and trust in Him like never before. When this becomes a priority in our lives then we will see the desires of our heart come to pass!
You can find a message I preached on this subject here