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Friday, March 8, 2013

Setting Spiritual Goals

Possibly my favorite scripture verses come from third chapter of Philippians.  Verse 12 will grab you:

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (NIV)

So will versus 13-14 as it continues:

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

This whole goal setting thing whacked me in the nose last week and I can’t seem to shake it.  I read about how Isaac sought spiritual goals in the book of Genesis during a bible study project.  Then I heard a sermon partially based on the passages above.  If I didn’t know better I’d think God was sending me a message.

Clearly, I am being led to create some spiritual goals or objectives for my life.  This is not good.  I don’t really set goals.  I don’t like goals.  Goals make you accountable.  Yuck.  One might think training to run a marathon is all part of some sophisticated health or wellness aspiration.  The reality is that I like to run and every so often my training gets stale so I throw in a marathon to sort of give life to my running.

Give life to my running.  Wow, I never really thought of it that way.  Whether intentional or not, putting a race on my calendar does require me to step back and plan.  As rarely happens in other parts of my life, I actually sit down and create a rough training plan for the three to four months leading up to that big race.  I simply could not reach the start line (forget the finish line) if I didn’t take the necessary steps of preparation.

 God’s call to set some spiritual goals should be taken seriously.  Not taking it as serious as my running is wrong.  I know how important it is to answer the call God gives you.  Therefore, I intend to set some spiritual goals and measure my progress.  The benefits are clear.  I will be less inclined to be idle or backslide in my faith.  Spiritual goals achieved equals spiritual growth.

 So if I were to set some spiritual goals, what would that look like?

 I think the best thing I can do is evaluate what is in process and how can I expand or refine those efforts so that a goal is clearly defined.  For example, I attend a weekly bible study.  My attendance has been a little sporadic lately.  I’m going to set an attendance benchmark to achieve between now and when we break for summer.  I can do the same for church attendance, bible reading plan, prayer life and service.

God is telling me to get focused.  I’m on the right path, just all over the road like my 15 year old daughter who just received her learner’s permit.  Let’s get it between the yellow lines.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace