Living Christianity Blog

Maintaining Our Spiritual Goals

Christians should have a great desire to grow and change. That’s why we often set spiritual goals for ourselves.

As Christians, we often generate spiritual goals for ourselves. For many, it is a way to gauge if we are continually becoming a better Christian. We can use these goals to analyze ourselves every year to see if we’re making spiritual progress.

One way to help us keep tabs on our spiritual goals is to answer five questions.

Who?

This exercise involves ourselves and God. It can be helpful to get other people to motivate us in our spiritual goals, but our growth is ultimately between Him and us. 

Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Jesus Christ is there to strengthen those who actively seek His help and want to change their lives for the better. 

God wants us to fulfill our spiritual goals, and He will help us as long as we put forth effort. Others can definitely help us reach our goals, but positive movement will mainly depend on our personal commitment and relationship with God.

What?

This will depend on the specific goals that we make. Everyone struggles in different ways, since no two human beings are exactly alike. There are many common struggles we all face, but there will always be differences in what goals people set. Some examples are:

  • Limit video games and television to [you fill in the blank] hours a week (to target laziness).
  • Help others twice a month through monetary or service means (to target selfishness).
  • Wait 24 hours before responding to something upsetting on Facebook or in email (to target abrasive anger).
  • Do an in-depth study of [you fill in the blank with a weakness] this year, and pray daily for help overcoming it (to target destructive disobedience to God).
  • Study the Bible for at least [you fill in the blank] minutes a day, and pray for at least [you fill in the blank] minutes a day (to target ignorance of God’s Word and lack of relationship with the Creator).

Where and when?

These questions will be quick because the answer is quick: everywhere and all the time. God doesn’t have times or places where destructive choices and thoughts don’t count. Some may say calories don’t count on vacations or after a really stressful day, but sin always counts. We want to strive to be pleasing to God always!

Why?

Because only working on our spiritual goals for one isolated time period after we make them won’t produce lasting growth. Think of how often New Year’s resolutions fail within the first month! Those are usually just physical resolutions, not deep spiritual goals intent on improving our entire character.

James 1:22-25 tells us we can’t just be hearers of God’s Word; we have to be doers. If we are not applying what we learn every day, then it’s all academic.

How?

Keeping track of our progress on spiritual goals can be done in many ways. Some may be comfortable doing it anecdotally, and at the end of the year may say, “I think I’m getting a little better at this but I probably need to work more at that.” Some are more comfortable writing down both successes and failures and monitoring progress that way. Others like to get continuous feedback from loved ones as to what they can do better or if they are adequately growing.

There is more than one way to monitor our spiritual goals—the best way is the way each one of us will actually do it. However, beware of these warning signs that might be signaling it is time to try a new approach:

  • We can’t remember what goals we had last year. (That means they aren’t clear and measurable enough.)
  • Our goals sound more like “be a better Christian” and less like “do this specific thing in order to be a better Christian.” (That means our goals are too general and vague.)
  • We feel as though we are essentially the same spiritual person … year after year. (That means nothing is actually improving and making room for more things on our list.)

Don’t quit!

We make spiritual goals for a reason. We want to be better people to show love to our Creator and to be a more positive influence on those around us. We don’t want quick spurts of growth that doesn’t last. We are looking for long-term positive growth and change. Spiritual goals can help us achieve that—with God’s help! It is definitely worth it.

For more insight on this topic, read “Measuring Your Spiritual Growth.”

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