I love to make lists. I make grocery lists, daily to do lists, and write down my personal and professional goals. This keeps me organized, on track, and moving forward. I also have personal and professional goals. I must admit sometimes I wonder if my goals are in accordance with His will. Perhaps I am declaring my desires and then asking God to bless them and follow me. The scripture that first comes to my mind when setting goals is Matthew 6:33, and I love the King James version of this scripture. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Earlier in Matthew 6 Jesus has told his followers not to worry about material things such as food or clothing, as God will provide the needs of his followers. Jesus is emphasizing that one must not pursue wealth and material things before the pursuit of God.
So how do you know the kind of goal that God will bless? Ask yourself these questions:
Does my goal honor God?
Any goal that causes you to trust Him more, to depend on Him more, to love Him more, to love other people more, to serve God, to serve others, to be more unselfish is a goal that honors God. Do you have a goal to have a more intimate relationship with God? Do you seek His face each day? We should ask God to prune us of our desires of the flesh and help us live a life of joy based in the Holy Spirit.
The Bible instructs us in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God”. Everything we do can be done to honor God. You can fold laundry to honor God. You can sleep to honor God. You can study for a test to honor God. How? By doing it with the right motive: gratitude. You want your life to bring honor to God, so your goals should help you be the best you can be for God’s glory.
Is my goal motivated by love?
God is not going to bless a goal motivated by greed, envy, guilt, fear, or pride. These are not fruits of the spirit. But he does honor a goal that is motivated by a desire to demonstrate love to Him and to others, because God is love and as we love one another we love God. Scripture clearly tells us how to identify love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
It is important to have goals that are based on love. If we set goals absent of love, we tend to treat people as projects or means to a inward focused desire. These people are what I call “bulldozers.” They plow through others to achieve their goal. God is not interested in your accomplishments. He is interested in your relationships with Him and others. He is interested in your ability to receive His love and transfer it to others. “Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14 ).
Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for 18 years and Quality Manager for Eco Environmental (Louisville, KY) for 2 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.