But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The world is full of advice on how to set and achieve goals. In each case, the steps start with us—identifying who we want to become and what we should do to be “successful.” But Christian goal setting is to start with an attitude and focus that is God-centered.
The attitude is: I want to be who God wants me to be. The focus is: I will look to God for direction in all areas of my life, and I will obey. Both aspects involve identifying the steps that the Lord wants us to take, but oftentimes we find ourselves not doing that. Let’s consider what stops us.
Some people lack knowledge on how to identify the Lord’s plan, whereas others are mentally lazy. The solution to both situations is to give attention to the Word of God. When we invest significant time considering Jesus’ life and words, we will learn His pattern for living and then be able to identify specific steps to take. This requires mental energy and commitment, but the reward is great.
Lack of faith can be another hindrance. When that’s the problem, we tend to think, Why should we set goals when we are convinced we cannot do what the Lord’s asking? The answer is to build our faith through systematic Bible study and apply it by setting a series of smaller goals.
Fear of failure can also prevent us from establishing goals. We can overcome this obstacle by remembering that in Christ, there is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1).
Do you desire to move ahead in your Christian life, becoming more like Jesus and acting less like your old self? Goal setting with the right attitude and focus will help.