Matthew 4:23 clearly depicts Jesus’ three-fold ministry on earth. “Jesus was going all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”Jesus taught us, “All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father.”(Mat.11:27) Even when Pharisees came to Jesus warning Him to leave because King Herod wanted to kill Him, He replied: “Go tell that fox, ‘Look! I’m driving out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete My work” (Luke 13:32). Facing a gruesome death, He still submitted His life under His Father’s authority. “Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Mat.26:39).
I admire people that are goal-oriented. Those who act as if goal setting is some presumptuous folly perplex me. Those who are too lazy to even make the effort to formulate goals sadden me. Clearly, Jesus went about heaven’s business with goals in mind. As Randy Alcorn writes in Heaven, “To be Heaven-oriented is to be goal-oriented in the best sense.”
When the saints wake up to the task of denying self (Luke 9:23) so as to be wholly committed to fulfilling God’s plan, the earth will glow from the magnificent wattage! Lest we think we are anywhere close to this happening now, read what George Barna’s team discovered and reported in his book Growing True Disciples:
. . . most born-again adults are limited in their ability to grow spiritually because they have failed to set any goals for their spiritual development, failed to develop standards against which to measure their growth, or failed to establish procedures for being held accountable for their growth.
Not one of the adults we interviewed said that their goal in life was to be a committed follower of Jesus Christ or to make disciples.
. . . six out of ten believers have no sense of what they want to achieve or become, and roughly two out of ten have only the vaguest idea . . . That leaves only two out of ten believers who are serious about their spiritual development and have defined rather specific goals.
When I was a senior in high school, Dad taught me how to set short, medium and long-range goals. We prayed over those goals while he helped me understand key principles in setting objectives. Today we continue to refine the process.
1. Goals must be realistic, measurable and attainable.
2. I may set goals but it is the Lord who determines my steps (Proverbs 16:9).
3. My heart and mind must submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration” (Isaiah 55:8).
4. Luke 2:52 is a superb guide for setting goals. Every year I use this model to set goals in four areas: Intellectual growth, Physical growth, Spiritual growth, Social growth. Under these categories I set specific goals for learning (ex: read 24 books/year); staying in shape (ex: exercise and rest plan); deepening my walk with God (ex: Scripture study, prayer); and, growing relationally (ex: discipling people, family time).
Amazingly, every goal I set at the age of eighteen, God fulfilled in my life! Today I still select a key Bible passage for the year ahead. Next, I carefully review the past year. Finally, prayerfully, I set goals for the year ahead. Jesus set the example and calls us to follow after Him. So let’s get after it! We find true meaning and value in life when we live so as to honor God! Great goals accomplished are rewarding! No goals are a sure formula for discouragement and defeated living. Let’s make it our careful aim to please our Father by setting goals that honor Him! Let’s purpose to live according to His will and ask Him for the strength to do what we committed to doing. Let’s aspire in His grace and thrive in His graciousness! Something to think about . . . in reveration!
The greatest tragedy in life is not in failing to get what you go after. The greatest tragedy in life is getting it and finding out it wasn’t worth the trouble.—Jeanette Cliff George
©2007 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)