Most of you will be asked over the next week what your New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 are. Most people will list a set of changes they want to make to how they live when answering this question. Common resolutions are to lose weight, to exercise more, to eat less junk, etc. This year I want to challenge you to set goals for the year instead of resolutions. Not only that, I want you to set God-sized goals.
The difference between a goal and a resolution, is perhaps nuanced, but I would say that a goal is more concrete and measurable and a resolution is more intent and lifestyle oriented. I would challenge you to sit down and write out your goals for the upcoming year – make them specific and measurable.
“Faith is an action word – it is acting on what you believe God would have you to do.”
When setting goals, you need to avoid a few things. First, don’t focus on the past. By focusing there, you become limited in your thinking and mired in emotions regarding the past. Isaiah 43:18 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” A second thing to avoid is focusing on your present resources (see the story of Zechariah in Luke 1). By focusing on present resources, you are limiting God to what you can see. Scripture says that He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20). Additionally, if you are married, you need to avoid setting goals without the counsel and agreement of your spouse. You can certainly set individual goals, but your individual goals need to edify your spouse and promote harmony in your marriage relationship.
“By focusing on present resources, you are limiting God to what you can see.”
Finally, how do you set God-sized faith goals? I define a faith goal as “an objective toward which I believe God wants me to move.” It’s asking, “God, what are your plans? I am available to be used by you.” The first step in setting a faith goal is to spend time with the Lord. If we are not setting our goals out of our time with the Lord, our goal is merely striving after our own imagination and dreams. The second step is to record the impressions you get of what God seems to be saying to you. As you do this, assurance and conviction will result. Then, make your goal measurable. For example, “to be a better father” is an intention, not a goal. However, “to spend fifteen minutes a day with each child” is a goal, because it is measurable. After you have set your goals, you must act on them. Faith is an action word – it is acting on what you believe God would have you to do.
In setting faith goals, let God’s resources be the barometer for setting a God-sized goal. If it is His goal, then He has the resources to accomplish it. Goal setting can be a tremendous opportunity to see God at work, for it requires reliance on God to accomplish something that only He can accomplish.
My prayer for you is that 2016 will be a year that is richly blessed by God’s input into your life through your time with Him, and that, out of that input, you are able to pursue His goals for your life and your finances.