God wants you to pursue your goals and dreams in faith. He’s already provided all you need for success! You can take some practical steps by learning how to set Godly goals and walk them out in faith.
Goals are Godly
In the faith community, some people shy away from goals because they don’t want to operate in their own strength, according to their own plans. But you can set goals by the spirit and walk them out in faith! God is a big fan of goals.
“Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it…But the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:2,4).
Many times in Scripture, God gave specific goals and plans to His children: Noah’s ark, Gideon’s army, Nehemiah rebuilding the wall, Jesus distributing the food as he fed the 5,000.
In Proverbs, Solomon wrote, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich” (Proverbs 13:4).
Faith isn’t just wishing our hopes into existence. It isn’t just desiring something and then sitting and waiting. Goals are a tool that can help your soul walk in faith and be more victorious in the plans God has for you.
Why Should I Set Goals?
You can change your future.
Goals bring the future into the present, and the present is the only time you can take action. This is the time when you have power to change the course of your life and to impact others.
You need to steward your time.
Time is the only thing on earth that is fair: everyone gets the same 24 hours per day. The difference is in how we use it. We’ve all had days where we were amazed at our productivity. Other days, not so much. (Ashley admits to wasting hours watching cat videos on YouTube.) If you don’t plan your time, someone else will help you waste it!
Goals give you direction, focus, and priorities.
Imagine a football game—either soccer or American football will do—without any goals. How would the players know where to run? How would the fans understand what’s happening? Clear goals help you make decisions and stay focused on what matters.
How to Set Goals
We really like the SMART goal method, though we certainly didn’t make it up. SMART goals are:
While it’s great to desire a closer relationship with God or a healthier body, a specific and measurable goal will help you see the progress you’re making. If your goal stretches you but it still achievable, you’re less likely to get discouraged. A goal that’s relevant is one that helps you, makes sense with your season of life, and benefits others. Finally, a timed or time-bound goal is far more likely to actually happen.
One of Ashley’s SMART goals is to read the entire Bible this year. It’s specific (read the Bible), measurable (the entire Bible), achievable (just 3–5 chapters per day), relevant (the Word is always relevant), and timed (this year).
Pursue Goals in Faith
The world sets goals, too. So how do you pursue your goals in faith without getting obsessed or discouraged?
1. Delight yourself in the Lord.
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
Spend quality time with the Lord, asking Him what you should focus on in the next year and what your goals should be. He is the anchor holding you safe, the well that refreshes you, the springboard launching you to success. Seek Him above all else, and the rest will fall into place (Matthew 6:33).
2. Stay out of works and condemnation.
As soon as you set a goal, your flesh will go nuts trying to make things happen in your own strength. Then, when you inevitably miss a day or working out or reading your Bible or otherwise mess up, condemnation will try to get in. Don’t let it!
You are not running to win the race. Jesus has already won! You’re running around with a medal in your hand and celebrating. You’re making plans and taking steps, but it’s all from a position of wholeness and victory.
3. Don’t lean on your own understanding.
Early in 2020, the Lord told Ashley to double their giving. In the natural, this made no sense at all. Why would someone give more during a worldwide crisis? But God had great plans to grow Terradez Ministries, and that giving was a seed of faith.
“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” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
If we want to see the world changed—people coming to know Jesus, receiving healing, being prospered and set free—we can’t rely on our natural ways of thinking. Leaning on natural wisdom will only get you natural results. Leaning on God’s wisdom will get you supernatural results.
4. Have a vision of where you want to be.
Too often, we move through life without an idea of where we’re going, then we wonder how we ended up in this situation. Let God give you a picture in your spirit of where you’re headed and who you’re going to be when you reach your goals. Then let that picture motivate you when it gets hard.
“Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint…” (Proverbs 29:18 ASV). That vision, that picture in your spirit, will help you make good decisions and set appropriate boundaries. A vision of that house you’re going to buy once you pay off your debt will help you manage your spending. A picture of yourself strong and healthy and playing with your kids will encourage you to make good eating choices.
5. Take the first step.
God wants us to make good plans and be diligent. But sometimes we can’t see beyond the first step He reveals.
When Ashley and Carlie moved to the U.S., they didn’t know how long they’d stay, where they’d live, and didn’t have jobs lined up. They did know that the Lord was telling them to move to the United States. So, they took that first step and moved. Soon God showed them the next step and the next.
Following the Lord’s leading is more important that having all your ducks in a row. Don’t stall your goals by refusing to take the first step God has shown you.
6. Count the cost.
Pursuing your goals in faith will have a cost (Luke 14:28-30). It might hurt to let go of a toxic relationship. Exercising takes effort. It’s not always fun to cut back and save money. (Check out Thorns, Barns, & Oil Jars for help reaching this goal.) In the moment, it can be frustrating to do things God’s way instead of the “easier” way we see in the natural.
Accept that pursuing the plans God has for you will come at a cost. But there’s good news! His plans for you are only good and always better that you can imagine! Let the Lord direct you. Let Him teach you how to set Godly goals. Trust the steps He gives you as you make your plans. You’ll move forward in faith, enjoying all the He’s provided for you in Jesus.
Join the Be the Light Challenge
Do you have a goal to spend more time in the Word of God? Sign up for the Be the Light Challenge and receive a FREE Be the Light kit, including: 30 days of mini devotionals, a digital confession card, digital 39 Reasons Healing Is Yours booklet, and encouraging wall papers.