Is There Such a Thing as Christian Goal Setting?
There sure is! Applying the Biblical word “plan” for goal setting, it’s clear that God has plans and so do people. God blesses righteous plans and blasts away ones that aren’t so righteous! Above all, goals and plans are subject to the will of God. Is goal planning even Biblical? You bet! God gives people plans: “[King David] gave [Solomon] the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the Lord and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things. (1 Chronicles 28:12) Don’t discount goal planning as being “worldly!” Not unless you want to discount God too. But there are evil plans in this world and plans that are opposite to His will and moral will. These he will frustrate.
“He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.” (Job 5:12) The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples." (Psalm 33:10) “Crafty” means the schemers, the no-good-doers, the plotters. The nations get into the act too. God works both on the individual and global planes of the world; He is sovereign! And he warns those who plot in the darkness and who plan apart from his known will.
“Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’" (Isaiah 29:15) "’Woe to the obstinate children," declares the LORD, ‘to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin…’" (Isaiah 30:1) Did I mention not making evil plans? Goal planning for unethical means is bad. So is planning goals that take you right out of the mainstream of God’s will for your life. Now be careful here God’s river is big and wide. I don’t believe in a one-choice-or-you’re-out narrow view of God’s will for you. I believe that for the Christian, there are many paths to many good outcomes and God is there on all of them. But there is a general direction and flow to the outcomes and we can observe it if we care to. So goals and plans can be good things! “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed." (Psalm 20:4) “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11) And God has his sovereign plan! Planning and goal setting is a fine thing. But subject everything to the Lord’s guidance.
“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." (Psalm 33:11) ”Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21) Biblical Advice about Plans I love the book of Proverbs. Along with great advice for faith, business and life, comes this counsel about planning: Don’t plan in a vacuum, but run your plans and goals past other people. You don’t want to do this with every goal and at every stage in the game, but you should with big and important plans. Especially if they impact other people. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." (Proverbs 15:22) Pray, pray some more, and then pray again! Surround your goals and plans with prayer and ask the Lord to bless you in their doing. “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." (Proverbs 16:3) Ask God for wisdom as you plan and set goals.
Involve him every step of the way as you go along and chart your progress. Don’t be afraid to make mid-course corrections as necessary. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) Don’t forget the action part of planning! None of your work and thought will make a smidgen of difference if you don’t actually do something. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." (Proverbs 21:5) Planning isn’t only all right to do, it’s positively wonderful! “But the noble person makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands." (Isaiah 32:8).
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