These are all great goals, but perhaps the most important goals we could set would be spiritual ones.
As followers of Christ, God invites us to move deeper into relationship with Him every year. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9 our goal is to please God. He also talks about pressing on to receive the prize of perfection, where we are complete in our relationship with Christ. In Philippians 3:12-14, he says, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
If we are to press on like Paul, we must be willing to strive to become everything God has planned for us to be. That doesn’t happen accidentally. Identifying and pursuing godly goals can help us in our striving.
To set godly goals, begin with prayer. Ask God to help you evaluate where you are and to show you where He wants you to be. Psalm 139:23 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” God wants us to seek His help as we strive to please Him. Since none of us have reached that perfection Paul wrote about, we can ask God to direct us to ways we can please Him more.
Once you have an idea of where you want to be in your relationship with God a year from now, identify some ways that will help you get there. This is different for everyone, but there are some practices that may help you get there. Consistent time in God’s word and in prayer will always help us to grow closer to God.
Becoming a part of a church family allows us to find our place as part of God’s people. Walking in obedience to His commands helps us to live a more holy lifestyle.
Giving up sinful or distracting activities can loosen the bonds of what hinder us from being fully surrendered to God. Serving and showing God’s love to others helps us to be more like Jesus, who came to show us the way of love. All of these activities are both disciplines that shape us and outward expressions of heart changes that are going on inside of us as we grow spiritually.
As the New Year comes to greet us, I pray that you will seek God’s will for your life – His goals for you – and make it your desire to achieve those goals. Press on, my friends, and have a happy New Year.
Kathy Tack is lead pastor of Generations of Grace Church in Lebanon. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.