Why We Should Set Goals

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Whether we achieve them or not, goals set us in the right direction.

Philippians 3:7-16

Scripture repeatedly encourages believers to trust God for needs and guidance. But how does dependence on the Lord fit with setting goals for our life? Some Christians interpret these biblical admonitions to mean we should not make plans at all because doing so hinders trust. However, this perspective turns trust into apathy instead of acknowledging it as an important discipline.

Setting goals helps us determine where to focus our energy so we can accomplish the work God has for us to do (Eph. 2:10). When the evangelist and preacher Jonathan Edwards was 19 years old, he made 70 resolutions, which guided his life—and he had an amazingly productive ministry.

The apostle Paul also set some goals for himself: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). At the end of his life, he was able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

Wouldn’t you like to be able to say that on your deathbed? So many things in the world distract us. We’re good at setting career, business, financial, or personal goals and may even faithfully follow a to-do list, all of which are good things. However, we must be careful not to let our earthly pursuits keep us from thinking seriously about setting spiritual goals.

Making plans is an essential step toward achieving anything worthwhile. So let’s be intentional about identifying what our hopes are for our spiritual life and set objectives to head in that direction. These goals are unlike any others because they have both temporal and eternal value.

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