Setting Goals in Life

by Ong Eng Boon
10 July 2011

When the apostle Paul concluded his 3rd missionary journey, he has set his mind to visit Rome. Before this, Paul had longed to see the Christians in Rome.

“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His son, that without ceasing I make mentioned of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you ….” (Rom. 1:9-12).

He also make mentioned of this goal in his epistles to the Romans when he says in Romans 15:28 “ I shall go by way of you Spain”.

“But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey ,and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while.” (Rom.15:23-24).

Need of Goal in Life
As Christians we need to have goal in our life. Without goal, life will be lacking of challenge. You must recognize the fact that if we lack challenges in life, we will be lacking in motivation and remained stagnant. All of us need to have a goal and works diligently towards achieving that purpose. All of us need to set forth a purposeful and challenging goal and use our abilities and talents to realize the potential that is in us. If we put this into practice, this will definitely make each one of us grow spiritually unto maturity.

In contrast, if you are living your life without a goal, you are living your life aimlessly, life will be meaningless and dull. Those who are without goal are described as “Therefore they shall be like the morning cloud . And like the early dew that passes away, Like chaff blown off from a threshing floor. And like smoke from a chimney” (Hos.13:3)

What is Our Goal?
What sort of goal shall we set? We have often heard people said “I want to be a millionaire by the time I reach 30”,  “I want to retired by the time I reach 40”. As Christians, do we include God in our plan when we set goals in life?

“Come now, you who say. “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”’ whereas you do not know what will happened tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”  (Jas. 4:13-16)

Jesus said “but he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:22b).

Paul said “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5:9)

Apostle Paul wanted us to know that the goals we set will determine our aims in life which we need to carry out conscientiously.

If you study Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the mount recorded in Matt 5-7. The sermon starts with a series of statements, each of which begins with the word “blessed” or “happy”. I am sure all of us want to be happy in life. What do you think will bring happiness in life? Singaporeans believed happiness in life comprises of  5C’s -Cash, Credit card, Car, Condominium and Career. Over the years, it has since evolved to Courage, Confidence, Compassion, Creativity, Competence and Capabilities.

Jesus wanted the multitude to think who are those that are really happy. What did Jesus says? Jesus begins with those who are humble in spirit and those who mourn with others, those who are gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who through persecution learned to live peaceably with others. These are the ones who put their lives first in wanting to live righteously before God and men.
Jesus set goals for them who wanted to please God: (a) Let your light so shine before men. (b) Keep your heart pure. (c) Remove obstacles which may hinder you from serving God. (d) Love your neighbor and also love your enemies. (e) Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (f) Pray fervently in your life. (g) Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. (h) We should not only hear His words, but also act on them.

All these goals set by Jesus are not easy to attain. We need to read it, study it; but above all, make every effort to practice it. If we don’t practice it, we cannot please ourselves and cannot be pleasing to God. We must make it our aim.

Setting Goals
A lot of brethren wasted many opportunities in life or just let them slip by because they don’t know how to set goal or don’t have a clear goal in life. If you don’t have a clear goal to guide you, a lot of times your effort will be double but the results you get will only be half. Setting goals in life is not that difficult as you perceived, just 3 simple steps:-
1) Have a clear goal, be sure of your goal.
Apostle Paul wished to gain Christ (Phil.3:8), he wished to be in heaven (Phil 3:14). He says “one thing I do” (Phil 3:13)

2) Clearly set the goals you wished to attain according to priorities.
You cannot be setting too many goals in life. My suggestion is to limit to 5 goals, this will help you to prioritize your goals in orders of importance. You cannot be possibly doing too many things at one go and attain good success. Remember, all other goals you set need to help you to attain the main or most important goal in life.

3) Set challenging goal.
Paul said “reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Phil.3:13). Setting a goal which is not challenging at all is of no effect. Simply a goal which don’t need us to go the extra mile is of no use to us. God make known to us his goal for us not only challenging but also practical. God will not expect us to do something which is outside our capabilities. On the other hand, he will not underestimate our talents. He knows our talents and knows what we are capable of doing. All of us have talents and we just cannot let it go to waste and go on to live life without making use of our talents. We just have to put in something extra  and life would be much different, I believe we can do better if we have a challenging task ahead of us.
1. My desired goal is :  ________________
2. Is this goal biblical? Yes ____  No ____
3. Why I desired this goal : _____________
4. When must I fulfill/attain this goal? __________________________________
5. How do I carrying out my plan(s) in order to reach this goal? ___________________

Logic tells you that before you start a construction project, you need come up with a plan. This simple reasoning tells us that we need to have a clear plan in place to help us achieve the desire goals.
We need to spend some time writing down the plan and how to get the plan going. For example, you may want to teach others to know Christ and His will. Then your goal is to bring people to Christ. How are you going to do it? Once you decided to do something, you are taking the first step towards your goal. But your must realize your decision requires you to have the necessary knowledge and skills; in order for you to go forward, you need to include in your plan to study the bible diligently, go under training and identify the friend whom you going to teach.

One of the strategies is to have a mind to work. Once you made a decision to do Church work, you must not let anything affect your decision.

“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…” (2 Cor. 4:5).

As Christians, we need to have goals in life like bringing people to Christ. Then you need to involve yourself with visitations, supporting outreach work and grow unto spiritual maturity. For a start, you need to have time for others, for the programs of the church and also diligently study the Bible.

Don’t forget to put in a timeframe in your strategy as you work on your goals. If you want to teach people about the bible, you need to set aside a time to go and teach and you may want to set a timeframe. Write it down, paste it somewhere visible where you can see everyday. Don’t forget to pray, pray fervently. Don’t delay, don’t be afraid to make decisions, continue to pray. Some people like to wait for opportunities but we need to be like Paul who says  “We make it our aim” (2 Cor. 5:9).

If you don’t have goals, let us start by setting goals today! Once you decided on your goals, you must be steadfast and work on your goals!