New Year Goals

Happy New Year!  It's that time when I tend to think about the coming year, and what my goals should be.  I don't like to use the word "resolutions".  I prefer to say goals.  I might be splitting hairs here, but hear me out.  To me resolutions speaks of my resolve to change something.  Some goals are within my power to affect - reading the Bible, praying or exercising.  Others I have limited control over - getting married, a job promotion or medical conditions.  Jesus cautioned me about making a vow to the Lord that I can't keep, "Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black." (Matthew 5:36 NLT)

I am not saying that I should not have goals.  What I think Jesus is telling me is to be careful about vowing something that the Lord is not in.  I need to have goals.  But can I make a resolution like, by the end of the year I want to have a better job and buy a home?  Rather, as a Believer, my prayer needs to be something like, If it's your will...  I need to have goals.  It was the late Zig Ziglar who said, "You can't hit a target you can not see, and you can not see a target you do not have."  Anyone familiar with Zig knows that he would follow up that statement by adding that our targets need to be realistic.  An archer, regardless how skilled, can not hit his target while blind-folded.  Remove the blind-fold so he can see his target and dramatically improve his chances of hitting it!  Some goals, or "targets", are within my power to affect.  Others I have little control over.

Proverbs 16:9 tells me, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (NLT)  For me, this is reminding me of two things.  First, I should not make goals that I have not offered to my Lord in prayer.  Second, don't get discouraged.  I may envision a path to accomplishing my goal.  My Lord may see a different pathway, which becomes an opportunity to develop my faith.  I have to become flexible to my Lord's will, even putting aside my goals if need be.

So, what am I trying to say?  Goals are a healthy part of my Christian life, to help keep me focused.  I need to be cautious of making goals that are unrealistic, or may not be my Lord's will for my life.  Remain flexible, remembering that I am God's servant and He has the better plan for my life.   Something to pray about as I consider my goals for 2016!

"Look here, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year.  We will do business there and make a profit.'  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?  Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, 'If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.'  Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.  Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." James 4:13-17 (NLT)

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