11 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generationsPsalm 33: 11 (NIV)
If you are a college student, oral and written exams throughout the year are designed to give your professors (and you) a metric for what you are learning. If you are in a trade, the competence you display, as determined by a crew lead or foreman, when given progressively more challenging tasks, determine your ability for retention and more pay. As a parent, you teach, train, correct and encourage your children to display greater responsibility and self-discipline, helping them to “adult” one year. As a working adult, the more one develops skill, self-discipline and greater value for the project or employment one is performing, there should be a metric, a goal, and a plan forward to embrace.
When you have a spiritual focus, in whatever manner that means to you, I believe the plans and goals you make are influenced by Spirit. The question may be asked how a spiritual person determines whether one is growing in knowledge, patience, virtue, peace, trust or understanding . As for me, I view them from a Christian perspective. To a Christian, these spiritual ideals are encouraged (2 Peter 1: 4 – 6 NIV), expressed as righteousness (Isaiah 32:17), and “fruits of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22 -23 NIV).
popular wisdom about goals
21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”Proverbs 19: 21 (NIV)
In all sorts of personal development literature, we are encouraged to write down our goals, to take stock of them periodically, and see where we are after a period of time. Have you written down things you are asking GOD to help you attain this year? For my small bible study group this week, we discussed, now that it is July, how have we been growing spiritually and personally since the beginning of the year. We all have had circumstances this year – with work, finances, health, families, spouse, friends, ministers, and relatives, going through difficult and sometimes tragic circumstances.
- to those without a spiritual focus, goals are likely to be tangible: personal fitness, financial, and material possessions?
- they may also be emotional: a (better) relationship, greater self-confidence, and more “happiness”
a disciple of Christ’s wisdom, on goals
7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”2 Chronicles 15 :7 (NIV)
- life in accord with spiritual standards, with God’s Grace to smooth all the gaps and failings
- greater focus on a relationship with God, through reading, meditating, and interacting with other believers
- with consistency, daily prayer, for wisdom, expressing gratitude, and building the relationship
- embracing all things through the primary focus in discipleship to Christ
- sharing with everyone the Hope that God has extended through Christ, for salvation and eternal life
self-reflection and godliness
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”Proverbs 16:3
- have you been wondering why plans you made seem to be opposed, or way more difficult that you imagined?
- are you overwhelmed by a emotional, physical, or life challenge that you seem unable to get past on your own?
- have you been unable to complete something you “wanted” to do at the beginning of the year, and half-way through, in July, are either stuck – or have not made progress toward?
- Have you been asking for help, and then listening, for God to teach you His plans for you?