Should Christians set life goals?
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” - Zig Ziglar
As I sat on the porch of my families’ vacation rental house, I reflected on this past year.
I asked myself: What went well? What didn’t? In what ways can I improve?
I pondered how this upcoming year can be the best one yet. I thought hard about how I can grow as both a person and follower of Christ.
And knowing that a wish not written down is merely a dream, I began to write down goals. Goals regarding my financial security, work life, personal growth, spiritual maturity and so on.
But, in the midst of it, I wondered: Is this process even honoring to God?
Is the practice of setting specific goals to work toward something that makes God glorified? Or is it just another example of a human pursuing their own vain desires?
I’ve read the verses and heard the pastoral phrases.
“Just let go and let God.”
“The Lord will fight your battles for you.”
“His will be done, not your will.”
There’s even James 4:13 that seems to speak specifically about not crafting goals or plans because we have no real grasp on life - our time on earth is merely a vapor.
With all of that said, I agree completely with the fact that God is sovereign and very much has an amazing plan for our lives, but I refuse to believe he is glorified in idleness and complacency. That we should just float through life hoping that He will use us significantly.
In fact, I know He’s not. Ephesians 5, Proverbs 18, 2 Thess. 3 and so many more verses condemn idleness, laziness and a lack of intentionality.
God loves a focused and driven believer. Think about it:
The Apostle Paul mapped out exactly where he would plant churches.
Joshua planned and executed battle after battle in the name of the Lord.
Noah knew it was necessary to build and finish the ark.
These accomplishments for the kingdom didn‘t happen on accident. Impact is not incidental... It takes intention.
But, the key is that the intention is Christ - centered not me - centered. James 4 is speaking about people who do not seek God in their goal gathering. They leave Him out the equation.
They get a sense of what THEY want out of life and plan from there, as opposed to discovering what GOD wants first. So:
Before you ponder on the past year, pray that God reveals what changes need to be made in you.
Before you write down any goals, get into God’s Word to distinguish what He has called His people towards.
Before you commit to your plans, commit yourself to God’s Will.
So, plan the goals and go after them. But, don’t exclude God from the process - because anything without him is doomed from the start.
But, anything with Him and aligned with His Will is on a trajectory towards triumph for His glory. (Proverbs 16:3)