Healthy Goal-Setting for Christians

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Some Christians worry that goal setting is somehow “worldly,” but this only becomes problematic when such priorities make God and faith secondary in your life. Here is how to strike the perfect balance.

What does goal-setting look like for a Christian?

“Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!”

–Psalm 119:2-3

Goal #1: Putting God first

There is nothing wrong with setting goals in life. But the primary goal of any Christian is to make God first in their life, which means submitting to His will is the foremost priority.

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

– Matthew 22:37-38

Goal #2: Submitting to God’s will

How does one submit to God’s will? Follow the Ten Commandments. Follow Jesus teachings and be a living, example of Christ, while helping the poor, giving to others and helping to inform others the gospel.

Goal #3: Goals that give glory to God

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

– Romans 11:36

Any goal that allows you to keep God first in your life is one that is on the right track. Any goal that allows you to glorify God and do good works according to His will, commands and teachings is worthy. Try to measure your goals by these standards.

Where goal-setting goes wrong

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

–Exodus 20:3

Is a having a goal really having another god? Yes, it can be treated as such. Any practice or major focus in your life that takes precedence over your relationship with God approaches the area of idolatry and having other “gods” before the one and only true God.

Think about people who are obsessive with their goals. These objectives can take over everything in their life. Not only can it take precedence over God, but often also that of family and other people around them.

Some people become so obsessive with their goals that it becomes a “do or die” proposition. Failure to succeed in a goal leads many to suicide.

The fallacy of prosperity gospel

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

– Matthew 6:24

“Prosperity Gospel” is a type of Christian philosophy practiced by some preachers that focuses on setting goals. One of the major criticisms of the so-called “prosperity gospel” is that it preaches wealth, success and health. At its worst, it misleads believers into thinking that if they only have enough faith God will reward them with these things. Prosperity gospel teaches the pursuit of the material over that of the spiritual.

Jesus warned against this kind of thinking.

Instead, Jesus preached that one shouldn’t focus on prosperity, but put God first and He will take care of your needs.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

– Matthew 6:33

Jesus said that God knows what each person needs and will provide the core things necessary to sustain life.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

–Matthew 6:25