A few years ago, as one year was ending and another one was about to begin, I looked through an old journal and saw that many of my faith goals for the year were still just faith goals. Sadly, nothing of much significance had happened from January to December. As I prayed, I felt bad and asked God why they were still just faith goals. And why was I just transferring the list from one notebook to the next, and from one year to the next?
I didn’t like what happened after that prayer. I’m not sure what sort of response I was expecting, but I certainly didn’t expect the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Here are the thoughts that entered my mind:
“They’re still faith goals because you thought that something magical would happen just by writing them down. Did you really think that you wouldn’t have to do anything to make sure these wonderful dreams become reality? There are a few things here that you can’t do anything about, and they require a miracle from God, but most everything else requires action—from you—perseverance, strength, kindness, love.”
Faith without deeds is dead (James 2:17), right? And I needed a revamp. Let me share with you some changes I made after that.
1. Set goals.
I still set some goals. There were things that I was believing God to do, and He was the only one who could do that. So I kept those in my faith-goal list. But for everything else, I began treating my personal life the way I would if it were a project at work: “What’s the goal? What do we want to accomplish? What’s the measure of success? What’s most important?”
Pray and consider what your life’s goal really is. All wisdom comes from God, and allow Him and His Word to direct your steps. The Westminster Catechism says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. If you’re not sure where to start, this declaration might be it.
2. Translate goals onto a calendar.
Amazingly crafted goals that stay in the pages of a notebook are not going to be met. They need to be translated into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual plans. This was a game changer for me. I’ve always been pretty organized at work, but I finally began to apply the same discipline and work ethic to my personal life as well.
Trust God to give you wisdom to number your days aright (Psalm 90:12). Ask Him about what to do with the days He has given you. Trust His timetable for your life.
3. Trust God for the resources.
The detailed plans will require considerable resources. Studying, becoming healthier, traveling—all of these will cost and will require a lot of faith. As you put hands and feet to your goals and plans, trust God to provide for you. His resources are unlimited, and He invites us to ask Him for what we need—daily.
As you make plans, consider your answer if Jesus asked you, “What do you have?” He asked His disciples the same question before He miraculously multiplied the loaves and the fish, and fed thousands. If your answer is similar to and puny like that of the disciples—“five loaves and two fish”—trust Him for a miracle. After all, He can do more with your five loaves and two fish than you could with all the money in your bank account.
So as you look at what you’re hoping will happen this year and in the years to come… set goals, translate them into plans, trust God to provide for you. And believe Him to do what only He can.
What are you praying to accomplish this year? How will you go about it?