Setting Goals for the Year 2016
by Dr. Ron Allchin

Is It Biblical to Set Goals?

With the approaching New Year, I recently reviewed the goals I had set for last year and was really encouraged when I realized that many of them were achieved.  Some had not been entirely accomplished, yet I wasn’t discouraged even though I certainly could have focused more or planned better.  I contemplated what would be my goals for the coming year or even if I would set goals.  Certainly if I set no goals, I would have no motivation to reach them, nor regrets for not.  The real question is, what would Jesus have me to do?

In Luke 14 Jesus certainly taught the purpose for goals: to consider the future and to set wise and reachable goals.  Jesus encouraged His disciples to “sit down first” before they made any future plans and to consider the consequences of no goals.  If their goal were the construction of a building they must “count the cost” BEFORE they started to build.  If it were to win a battle, they were to “consult” with others to find the best strategy for victory.

Our lives are like the building of a building.  Jesus taught His disciples that the “wise man builds his house upon a rock.”  The Rock is Jesus, but more specifically building on this Rock is one who hears the sayings of Jesus and does them. He is the person who always consults with God’s Word and counts the costs to determine if he is building his house right, so that at the end he will have implemented a victorious strategy.

What kind of Goals Should I Make (Luke 2:52)?

  • Spiritual goals: Bible study, Prayer, Scripture memory, Attending church, etc.
  • Intellectual Goals: Continuing education, Reading good books
  • Physical Goals: Eat right, Exercise, Rest, Get a physical or dental care
  • Social Goals: Make a new friend, Join a small group, Become a better friend
  • Communication Goals:  Encouraging words and Reconciling relationships
  • Financial Goals: Disciplined earning, saving, spending and giving of God’s money
  • Vocational Goals: Work at your job as if Christ were your boss – He is!
  • Marriage and Family Goals: Schedule fun dates with your spouse and children

What is the Only Heart Motivation that Brings True Success?

To reach God-honoring goals during the New Year demands we have the right motivation.  Some set spiritual goals of reading the Bible just to say, “I have read the Bible through this year.”  Some set intellectual goals so that they can get a better job or make more money. Others set physical goals of diet and exercise so they can look great or feel stronger.  Some might work harder to please their boss or to get a good review and promotion. Spouses and parents may have date nights just to please each other.

These are all good motives, but they neglect the primary motivation. Without an eternal purpose, all other temporal motivators will fizzle out within a few weeks or months.  We all know what that is like.  We have all created goals for the wrong reasons only to find when the reason disappears, we lose the heart to continue onward.  Biblical goals demand eternal motivations!

This year choose 1 Corinthians 10:31 as your creed for life.  God’s Glory must be the primary motive for making goals.  “Whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, do it all for the GLORY OF GOD.”  Paul uses activities that are so routine, things we do several times each day so we don’t miss the point.  How many times during this holiday have we mindlessly eaten another cookie or drank something?  Yes, even eating and drinking are to be to the Glory of God and are included under physical goals.  All the other goals fit under “…whatever you do…do as unto the Lord….” (Col 3:23).

Without God as the ever-conscious motivator and His Glory as the eternal and primary motivation, all other plans will either wither away, or falsely succeed with a prideful self-motivation that misses the real reason we try to achieve anything in life (Phil. 1:21).  Am I asking myself the right questions issue by issue as I daily live my life?  Might we all ask ourselves this question many times throughout each day of the new year:  “Am I being motivated at this moment toward this goal primarily because I desire to bring glory to God (Isa. 43:7) as I reach it?”