The first time I heard the following quote by Zig Ziglar, it caused deep thought, although the concept is simple. “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” We don’t take a trip—even to the grocery store—without considering our destination and the purpose for going.
If we drove around in circles without a specific destination and purpose for our errand, we’d waste valuable time and fuel. (And we’d be hungry later.)
During the first month of a new year, we often set new goals as we aim for success. Perhaps recently you’ve considered the process and devised plans to exercise more, save money, memorize Scripture, or otherwise improve your life.
During New Year’s celebrations in the past, I’d seek God’s guidance for my life and set out to meet goals I believed He wanted me to accomplish. But somehow, along the way, I’d lose focus and forget some of them. I stayed busy and often finished projects, learned new skills, and met new people–all worthy pursuits. But some of the most important God-given goals were not met.
When I sought God’s help, He began to teach me about seeking and fulfilling the plans He has for my life. Allow me to share what I’m learning.
Three Ways to Meet God-Given Goals
- Follow the example of Jesus.
While reading John 17, I paused at verse four. Shortly before His death, Jesus spoke to the Father. He said,
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.John 17:4 ESV
Like the earlier quote, this verse is comprehensible, but it provoked deep thought. Jesus accomplished the work God gave Him to do. Will I?
Jesus understood God’s plan, accepted His assignment, kept His aim on the goal, and fulfilled His purpose. God’s plan of redemption included Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of mankind. Mission accomplished.
Jesus only walked the dusty roads of this earth for about thirty-three years, yet He met the goal God had established by accomplishing all the Father designated for Him to do.
When I pondered this truth, I remembered God also assigned work for believers to do.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10 ESV
What a staggering thought—before I surrendered my life to Christ, even before I was born, God planned good works for me to do—works that would honor Him and bless the people He’d place in my path.
When I meet Jesus face-to-face, will I be able to say I’ve accomplished all He’s given me to do? How will I set goals and reach them in a way that pleases Him and reverberates into eternity for His sake?
How will I set goals and reach them in a way that pleases God and reverberates into eternity for His sake? Click To Tweet
As always, the Word of God holds the answers to our questions and includes the life of Jesus which provides a pattern for us. Here’s an example.
A sunset-to-sunrise story from the life of Jesus illustrates the reason He accomplished the goals assigned to Him. One afternoon as the sun nestled into the horizon, many people brought the sick to Jesus. He laid His hands on each one and healed them. At daybreak, He went to an isolated place, but the people found Him and tried to persuade Him to stay.
When they attempted to hinder His departure, He said,
I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.Luke 4:43 ESV
Jesus continued His travels, not because He had no mercy for those who begged Him to stay, but because His eyes were riveted on the ultimate goal. Distractions and the pleas of others failed to divert His attention from God’s plan.
I imagined the tasks He could have chosen throughout His earthly ministry and how He could have spent His time. He could have physically righted more wrongs as He did when the money changers set up tables in the temple. He could have extended His lessons on the Scriptures, healed all the sick, or turned water into wine at every wedding.
But He didn’t. Jesus knew God’s truths, understood His mission and kept His eyes on the goal. Then He could say with confidence He’d accomplished the work the Father planned for Him.
Unlike Jesus, my eyes often drift away from God-designed goals toward tasks I want to do or feel I need to do. Jesus didn’t allow “good things” to hinder the “best thing.” His eyes remained focused on God-given goals. If I follow the example of Jesus, He will help me follow His plan.
2. Seek and follow God’s guidance through prayer and Bible study.
Through prayer and Bible study, we can discern God’s will for our lives, and with His power working in us, we can live in a way that pleases Him. His Spirit enables us to complete the work He gives us to do when we yield our weaknesses to His strength. He forgives us when we repent of sin and return to His plan. When our focus drifts or we’re tempted to go our own way, our wise Shepherd guides us toward the right path. What an exciting daily adventure to partner with Jesus as we do the work God assigned to us and meet His expectations.
3. Keep a journal about what God is teaching you.
Rather than praying and creating a finite list of goals in the early days of January, I recorded them in a journal along with questions, one goal per page. As God answers my questions and continues to teach and transform me, I’m adding notes and verses to each page. Recording truths He shows me secures my focus and helps me meet God-given goals for my life. I’m still learning, and I’m thankful God continues to teach me.
The year is still new. Eleven months stretch before us if the Lord wills. Let’s follow the example of Jesus by setting our aim on God’s plan for our lives, continuing to seek His guidance through prayer and Bible study, and taking notes as He teaches us. My prayer is that you and I will lean in close to our heavenly Father and “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 ESV).
26 thoughts on “Three Ways to Meet God-Given Goals”
Prayer is the way I determine His will for my life. I ask and listen to Him. 🙂
Melissa, your comment reminds us that prayer is a two-way conversation. Listening and speaking. I’m grateful God ordained this means for communicating with Him. Thank you for reading and sharing an important point.
Jeannie, thanks for sharing these points. Jesus is our supreme example and the fact that He didn’t allow others to sway Him from His purpose points us to the same path. He did the works of the Father and showed people who God was. As we seek to know Him on a deeper level, we can have more inspiration and boldness to achieve the goals He sets in our lives. No matter where our journey leads us, we can take one step at a time with the Light of the world in front of our path.
Barbara, I love this statement you included: “No matter where our journey leads us, we can take one step at a time with the Light of the world in front of our path.” I need reminders that we take one step at a time, not one mile! 😉 He leads; we follow. Although Jesus was God, He spent time in prayer with the Father who gives us guidance. Thanks so much for adding to our conversation, Barbara.
Thank you for sharing this great encouragement! I love “Jesus knew God’s truths, understood His mission and kept His eyes on the goal. Then He could say with confidence He’d accomplished the work the Father planned for Him.”
I pray as this year continues, God finds me faithful in doing His work.
Dawn, I pray the same. When we seek the Father’s wisdom each day as Jesus did, we can be sure of His guidance. I’m noticing how He alters some of my goals. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of what I feel certain is best, but our wise, omniscient Father DOES know best. I appreciate your comments so much.
“When I meet Jesus face-to-face, will I be able to say I’ve accomplished all He’s given me to do?” Jeannie, you’ve provided excellent guidance for goal setting and achieving. May I be obedient to God’s purposes in 2022.
Annie, I’m glad you found the post helpful. I did a lot of thinking and praying as God led me to these thoughts. Like you, I want to be obedient in service to Him, but I often get sidetracked and avoid tasks that seem hard and time-consuming. I want to listen more closely and obey His call, not my wants. I appreciate your comments so much.
I read the Word, journal, pray, and then watch to see what God is doing around me. What a blessing it is to serve One who wants to be known!
Cathy, thank you for listing these biblical steps to follow. I love your statement with which I agree: “What a blessing it is to serve One who wants to be known!” It is an honor and privilege to serve God, and this year I hope to stay more focused on His plans.
Thank you Jeannie for sharing these three points to give substance and direction. You show us it’s not about making a “resolution” or a “ to do”goal but prayerfully and thoughtfully directed to find God’s mind and heart. The specifics will come but the guiding principles have to be the foundation.
Marilyn, thank you for adding, “The specifics will come but the guiding principles have to be the foundation.” For years, I made my list of resolutions according to what I thought was best. I included Bible reading and helping others, but the focus was mine, not God’s. It’s exciting to see how He leads and then to experience the peace that follows obedience. Through prayer and Bible study, He does indeed show us “His mind and heart.” I appreciate you adding to our conversation.
I realize I have a list of goals I want to achieve, but I need to remember to seek out what His goals are for me. Sometimes I get caught up in what I want to accomplish. Maybe God has something better. Thanks for this encouraging reminder Jeannie.
You’re welcome, Terri. I’m glad you found encouragement in the post. Thank you for reading and adding your thoughts. I’m also working to continually seek God’s goals and plans for my life. It’s so easy to get distracted by what we think is best. I agree with you that God “has something better” for us. Thanks for adding that thought.
Jeannie, your message is so timely. When we make goals for the New Year, about this time is when we give up! Your message is so encouraging and your strategies are right on target. Jesus is our best role model for how to love and serve others. Thank you for praying Phil 3:14 that we will “press on.”
How affirming, Katherine to read your comments. I really appreciate them. I knew God gave me the message for my life, and I was happy to share it with readers. When I read about the life of Jesus and pay particular attention to what He did and said, I’m reminded that I need to study more to be more like Him.
Great insights to ponder about keeping and reaching the goals God has given us. and such a timely post as we think about our goals for 2022. Thank you, Jeannie!
Thank you for reading and commenting, Kathy. I like to start the process in January, but this year I hope to listen to God more closely and adapt my plans as He leads.
Love this post Ms. Jeannie. I wish I did this more, but I do try often to ask God to help keep me focused on the tasks He’s called me to do. The world, and life in general, can easily distract us from accomplishing what God made us to do. Your post offers some great strategies to help Him to help us stay on point. Thank you ma’am.
You’re right about the distractions that arise and tempt us to go off-course. I’m learning to continue to listen to God even after goals are set. He knows the best route to honor Him. Thank you so much for joining in the conversation, J. D.
It can sometimes be so hard to focus on the right things — or even figure out what the “right” things are — because there are so many good possibilities at any given time. Your examples of how Jesus could have healed all the sick, changed all the water into wine, etc. especially resonated with me. Yes, He could have — but He didn’t because He knew there were other things to focus on. I pray that I can catch even a glimmer of God’s goals for me at any given time so I know I’m on the right path.
Well said, Leigh. I understand what you mentioned regarding focus. There are a number of “good things” we can engage in at any given time. Like you, I’m praying to sense God’s direction. I appreciate you taking the time to write a note, Leigh.
Excellent post, Jeannie! As usual, you are right on target ❤️
I appreciate your kind words so much, Evelyn. I’m praying God keeps me on target as I continually learn to listen to Him.
Excellent and timely post! I love how you draw from the example of Jesus that he stayed focused on God’s specific tasks for Him, seeking God’s will through prayer often.
Jenni, I’m glad you found the post helpful. When we read about the life of Jesus, He reminds us of important practices like prayer. Those reminders lead me to seek Him more as I consider how to set goals and use time wisely. Thank you so much, Jenni, for reading and sharing your thoughts.