By: Sarah Abreu
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:20
The purpose of the Lord will stand. Many are my plans, but if they do not fit with God’s purpose they will not stand. This scripture does not discourage me from making plans, but it does mean that if my plans are far from God’s purpose, they will not stand and if my plans are in God’s purpose, they will stand.
We can forget that God often used humans to inspire and motivate His people: Moses received counsel from his father-in-law to choose elders so that he didn’t have to make every single decision for a nation. God used Samuel to go and select David from among his brothers to anoint him as king and prophesy to him of the many plans God had for his life. David had other plans, but only those according to God’s purpose stood.
You may be wondering where I’m going with this. As Christians we all have different goals. Some of us want a high-paying job, some of us want to be missionaries, some of us want to be a stay-at-home mom, some of us would love to donate to many Christ-like organizations that could use the money, and some of us just want to be able to tithe without constantly checking our bank account. Different people, different goals. That is just how we were created, all painting a beautiful picture of God Himself when we stand together for His glory.
But I truly believe the church falls short (we always will) in understanding the purpose of goals. Some of us believe we don’t need goals, that with or without goals God will do what He wants. But does God really think that we shouldn’t have goals?
Our goals become a problem when they are centered around what we want; when they are self-centered around our comfort. God never intended for David’s preparation to be king to be comfortable. Jesus did not go to the cross to take on all the sin of the world because it felt good. Our goals will never align with heaven until we get out of our heads and look towards heaven. Look to the One Who’s purpose WILL stand.
Stop setting goals for and about yourself, set goals for the kingdom of God. Care about what God cares about; do things that will matter for eternity.
Our quiet time is not just a cute to-do list task. Our quiet time molds us into disciplined children of God. This discipline is physical, but the reward is eternal because our God is eternal. My knowledge of God’s character, my conversations with Him, His revelations to me will last forever. Quiet time is not a joke, it is life or death for your day! It is having His word in your heart before the nasty comment by your co-worker, having His word in your heart before that person cuts you off in traffic. Don’t put it off. Don’t set the goal that makes you comfortable: “I’ll have my quiet time whenever I have time”.
Sacrifice your time to God! He sacrificed His own life for us and we can’t even sacrifice 15 minutes before starting our day.
Set goals that will help YOU help others: God’s purpose is not for us to become more and more like Him and keep it all to ourselves. Instead His purpose is for us to overflow in Christ-likeness to others. We can’t help others, until we help ourselves. Luke paints a beautiful picture of this for us when Jesus speaks of taking the speck out of our eye before trying to take it out of our brother’s eye. Set goals that will not only help you, but help those around you. Have your quiet time so that you can help your friend have it too, get in shape so that you can help that family member suffering from diabetes get in shape too, get that promotion so that you can motivate others to get one too. Go up to bring others up with you!
Set goals that will not please everyone. Believers need to stop thinking that everyone is going to be on board with their goals. Not everyone is going to support us, Jesus said the world will hate us because it hated Him. Not everyone is going to agree with the way you run your business, not everyone is going to agree with the way you run your youth group or Bible study, not everyone is going to agree with your goals. This is ok! Jesus did not please the Pharisees, He was too radical for them, He was a fool to them! We will face opposition, no one said this walk was easy. Stop molding your goals to your family or society or even your circle of friends. Mold your goals to the purpose of heaven, and strive to please Christ.
As believers, we tend to get stuck in Egypt. We tend to forget that God got us out of slavery and we live as if we’re owned by a person, a city, a job, a mindset, a custom, our habits, sin, or even comforts. We need to get out of Egypt, we cannot look back, but must look up to what God wants to do with our lives. Be encouraged that we serve an awesome God, who uses the poor and the wealthy, and no matter our circumstances; He uses the willing.
Are you willing to set goals for Jesus this year? Some might think you’re crazy, some might not agree, some might think you’re over-dramatic and selfish. Get with the Lord before the year ends and seek what He wants to accomplish through you this year for His glory!
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23
Sarah lives in sunny South Florida in the suburbs of Hollywood. She is the youth director at her church for middle school and high school students. Her heart cries out for others to experience the peace and comfort she has found in the Lord. Sarah loves going to the beach and the park as well as reading Jesus-centered books and dancing to worship music.