Last week, I introduced the topic of Mid-Year Spiritual Goal Check and how the scripture can help us to be on point with our goals. This week, I have a goal related question for you to ponder. Is it really okay for Christians to set goals? Before you respond, consider the following scripture. “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 (ESV).
Some use this scripture to suggest that the Bible teaches us to not set goals. Others point to passages like, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” Proverbs 21:5 and suggest that goal setting is not only godly, but absolutely necessary if we are to do what God has called us to do.
How do we resolve what appears to be a contradiction in the scripture? Step one is to understand the difference between a goal and a plan. The Bible refers to goalsetting in several ways: “The call of God”, “The will of God”, etc. There are many examples of biblical goal-setters, like Noah, Joseph and Nehemiah. A goal is a desired result. A plan is a set of steps leading to a goal. Both goals and plans are necessary to fulfill God’s call on our lives and purpose for our lives. The problem is not a contradiction in God’s Word, but a lack of a detailed plan needed to make the goal a reality!
A goal without a plan is only a dream! As you continue your Mid-year Spiritual Goal Check, keep your goals and detailed plans in sync with God’s awesome plan for your life according to Jeremiah 29: 11, and you will succeed.
Pastor R. Mario Howell