When it comes to setting life goals, one area we often overlook is our spiritual life. So, last weekend I challenged everyone to set a S.M.A.R.T. goal in their spiritual life for 2015. In the Bible we see that the Apostle Paul had spiritual goals: “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:12-14 NLT) The ultimate spiritual goal: being like Jesus. But how do we attain it? By taking one-step at a time – thus a 2015 spiritual goal.
This is about continuing to grow each year, month, week, and day. Remember your spiritual goal needs to be a S.M.A.R.T. goal, the A stands for “attainable”. If you are struggling with setting a spiritual goal here’s a list of practical, attainable ideas that can help:
Pick a Bible Reading Plan.
I highly recommend using reading plans on youversion.com. I’m personally doing the “One Year” reading plan on youversion.com for 2015. It helps me so much! If you are not a big reader, find a plan that fits your pace, but make it a daily habit, it will help you grow tremendously.
Read The RED LETTERS Only.
Many Bibles are Red Letter versions, meaning the words that Jesus spoke in the New Testament are in “red”. One year I made it my goal to read nothing but the “red”. It was amazing to see Jesus words come to life!
Get a New Version/New Bible
We are blessed to live in a day and time where we have so many wonderful, trustworthy translations that we can read and understand. If you are like me, I love to highlight the versus that speak to me as I read them. However, I find myself often reading only what I’ve highlighted in the past or versus I know well, missing out on so many others. Reading a new Bible or a new version will bring Scripture to life in 2015. I recommend NLT, NIV or the New King James translations. If you want to read a paraphrase try The Living Bible or The Message.
Yes, you can memorize! I often write one key verse on a piece of paper and carry it with me in my front pocket so that every time I reach in I pull out the verse and look at it. Set a goal for how many versus you want to memorize this year. Maybe 1 a week. I have a friend who made it his goal to memorize the key verse that I use in my talk each weekend for a year. He started doing this a few years ago and is still going. In fact he recently had someone he serves in ministry with join him in this goal. If one a week is too much, how about the key verse of each series we use during our weekend talk series. That would be about 1 verse a month in 2015.
Share Your Faith.
It is so important for your spiritual growth that you are sharing your faith story. It’s not only important for you, it’s critical for those in your life who do not know Jesus. Setting a number of times you would like to share your faith in 2015 is a very worthy faith goal. How about once a month? A week? Then begin praying for God to give you the opportunity. You will be amazed at the people He brings your way, because He is passionate about His love being known to everyone! (Need help with knowing how to share your faith? That’s part of what we teach in Foundation classes.)
Begin Serving In Ministry.
If you are a follower of Jesus, then you have been given Spiritual gifts that God wants you to use to bless your fellow members of His body, the church. (If you don’t know your Spiritual gifts – which is unfortunately very common – then make that your goal. We offer Foundation classes to help you learn them and understand how to use them.) Not only will you find incredible fulfillment as you use your gifts to serve in ministry, you will discover incredible fellowship with new friends you serve with, and you will see lives change, as you become a part of a ministry team who is changing lives for eternity.
Train Or Be Trained.
Have you been discipled? If not, then make that your goal this year. If you have, then it’s time to take the next step and begin discipling someone else who is a “newer” follow of Jesus than you. Train or be trained – for the rest of your life! (And yes, we can help you with a discipleship plan!)
Commit To Pray Daily.
Prayer is such an important part of your spiritual journey. Set a time and a place where you are committing to meet with God and pray on a daily basis, this is about communicating with Him. He is passionate about communicating with you. Start small, maybe the first 5 minutes of the day, the last 5 before going to sleep. Make a commitment to pray about every decision. Set a goal and stick with it. Pray that God will not only guide you in setting this goal but give you the power to live this goal out.
Find A Prayer Partner
This is a great way to grow in your prayer life. Find someone you can meet with once a week and pray together. This doesn’t have to be a big production, you simply share your prayer needs, they share theirs and you pray about them together.
Be A Part Of A Weekly Group
Nothing will encourage you more than being connected with others who are working to grow in their spiritual life as well. This is all about “Doing Life Together” – the Bible calls this fellowship. You will grow faster in a group because of encouragement, accountability and shared experiences.
Read Spiritual Growth Books
There are some great books that will help you grow spiritually. (Let me recommend one: my book – Life Palette – God created a masterpiece…and it’s you!) If you are a novice at reading books, set a goal to read 3 books on spiritual growth this year, or maybe 12, one a month. What is a pace that works for you?
Set a goal to begin writing down your thoughts as you pray and read the Bible. Write about what you feel the Lord is speaking to you about, maybe a verse that jumped out at you as you read it, the changes God is leading you to make, your discoveries in the Word. Set a goal to do this daily or once a week. Be sure and date each entry so you can look back and see your growth!
Begin A “Praise Book”
One of the most powerful things you can do is to give God praise for all He has done is and is doing in your life. It is amazing how easy it is to forget. So begin tracking all the things you can praise God for, things you can be thankful for. The Bible tells us over and over to “remember”, this will build your faith. Maybe set a goal to write 1 praise a day or 1 a week for 2015.
These are just a few ideas. There are many other great ideas for faith goals. Find one that fits you and your journey this year. Whatever you do, set 1 FAITH goal for 2015. Then keep praying that God will give you the strength to fulfill it, remember you can accomplish it through FAITH!
Let Me Hear From You:
What is a FAITH goal that you have set for 2015? What role does prayer play in your FAITH goals? Write your thoughts or comments below.