Oh 2018. I see you. There you are looking so novel.
We all see 2018. It’s upon us. Carrying with it all the cultural elements – the Time Square Ball, Ryan Seacrest’s seeming agelessness, New Years Parties – and its more subliminal facets – renewal, restoration and a fresh start. I’ve also heard it said that New Years is the time adults party like rock stars until 10pm. Can I get a witness?
The new year also brings a new you, right? You want to lose that 15 pounds, start that side hustle and quit the habit which you started after that doozy of a sophomore year in college. To get that new you means you embody other new years traditions – resolutions and goal setting.
I love goal setting. My godfather started a life coaching business and has been coaching me in the art of goal setting since I was in high school; however, I see one massive issue with goal setting though that has been bothering me for years.
I have nothing against goal setting itself, or the absurd amount of material on the subject or even the ridiculous personalities attached to this sphere of study. Those aren’t my issue at all.
My biggest issue is that I see so many Christians goal setting, but they are being motivated more by the culture than Christ.
There are financial goals, physical goals, career goals, etc., but we set those goals without being Christ guided. If we’re honest, most of them are simply Christless.
There are spiritual goals, but not spiritually grounded lives. Our spiritual goals end up being a spoke on the wheel, but not the hub through which our lives and goals revolve around.
We tell each other that it’s ok to pursue more wealth, yet we don’t speak the truth of Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
We applaud our friends jumping religiously into that new workout system (guilty as charged), but we don’t frame it around the fact that, “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with wealth, fitness or any of our goals in and of themselves, yet we must ask ourselves this question: how do we move from world-centered goals to Christ-centered goals in 2018?
I would propose that to set Christ-centered goals we must set them biblically, prayerfully and eternally.
Biblically – instead of grounding our goals in what the world says, what if we grounded our goals in what God says? Let’s let the living, breathing and active word of God shape our world rather than letting the living, breathing and active word of everyone else who is pursuing everything but God shape it. What if instead of starting with goals, we started with seeking the kingdom first and let the goals follow? (Matthew 6:33).
Prayerfully – the greatest wave of conviction I felt as I was goal setting this year was not my lack of biblical groundedness, but my prayerlessness. How little I had sought the Lord in prayer and let the Spirit guide my goal setting. Instead of starting with what goals do I have for myself this year, what if we started with, “God, what do you have for me?” I agree with D.L. Moody who once said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.” I don’t want to succeed at goals that are not God’s, that would be one of my greatest failures.
Eternally – our life is a vapor, yet so many set their goals with just the vapor in mind. (James 4:13-14). I don’t want to set goals just for 5 year or 50 years, but 500 years and 5,000,000,000 years on into eternity. Jesus warns us not to not lay up treasures on earth because rust and moth destroy them. Earthly wealth will pass, glory, fame, recognition and our fit bodies will all fade away; therefore, lay up treasures in heaven. Let us not settle for the world, but lets set our gaze like flint towards eternity and impact our world on the way there.
One of my favorite creative organizations I follow is a group called Humble Beast. One of their taglines is “more humble rappers please”. Ha! I love that line. Humble Beast wrote that statement as a strong call to shift the culture’s mindset. They love creativity, beauty, music, but they are calling people to humility in the process.
I love goals, goal setting and the discipline it takes to achieve them. However, I also want to put out a call to shift the culture’s mindset. We need believers who are pursuing kingdom ambitions, using their creativity for the glory of God, and utilizing their talents to transform communities.
We will never get there by letting the world shape our goals, but by letting Christ. We need more of God’s kingdom and less of our own.
More Kingdom Minded Goals Please.