Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. –Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
Goals and God, do they mesh? The short answer is, Oh, yes, they do! The worldview for goal setting is the use the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time sensitive) method. The aim of this is to make sure that a person set goals that are realistic and that they can achieve. Unfortunately, SMART goals leave no need for God because these goals are set based on a person’s natural ability to achieve it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking this method of goal setting. It helps you to think through what you really want to achieve in a methodical or logical manner. To me, that’s good.
S.M.A.R.T. goals have their place especially if you are new to goal setting but even for those who’ve been setting goals for a long time. You can find this method beneficial too if you feel intimidated by the idea of writing out and seeing your dreams laid out before you because it breaks the process into small steps. But as a Christian, when you set goals being S.M.A.R.T. about them can be a hindrance to God’s best for you.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific and maybe too specific in that you may not make room in your mind for anything greater than the amounts, times, places, people that you’ve identified in your goals. In other words, you can make these S.M.A.R.T. method mistakes (1) setting your goals too low or (2) wanting to accomplish them too quickly. You likely would overestimate what you can do in a year and underestimate what you can do in ten.
I like the idea of being specific, and that’s naturally me. But I’ve learned that when you do this you can become so bogged down with the specifics that you don’t see anything more or less than the goal you’ve created. But what if God wants more for you that you’ve determined?
Consider this: Instead set big goals with God for your life and spend the rest of your life going after them.
S.M.A.R.T goals are said to be achievable and realistic. Achievable by whom – You? Realistic to whom – the world standards? When you set goals that fall into this two categories, therein lies a problem. The goal is all dependent on you and not the Lord. First off, that places a lot of the burden on you to perform. Secondly, there is no reliance on God to help you. Thirdly, you miss the opportunity to ask God to show you His plans for you and help you craft then according to His will.
So enough said about S.M.A.R.T. goals. I like using the method but keep in mind the limitations for you and me as Christians.
Now, what I want to propose to you or challenge you to do is to set F.A.I.T.H. (Focused, Audacious, Inspiring, Transforming, and Hopeful) goals. Goals that will be require faith not in your ability to achieve them but in God’s ability to achieve them for you. I want you to set goals that will stretch your faith not in yourself but in God, in His word and in His ability.
So here is what I think F.A.I.T.H. goals should look like…
A focused goal directs your attention or efforts to a specific task that is measurable and time-bound. A goal is a dream with a deadline.
These are S.M.A.R.T. goal setting aspects that are still needed. Why? When God works in you, through you, with you and for you to help you achieve your goals, you need to know what they look like so that when you receive the blessing you can clearly identify God’s handiwork and give Him all the glory for what He has done.
This is where F.A.I.T.H. goals become interesting. An audacious goal will take you outside your comfort zone and inside the realm of God possibilities. Goals like these require you to be bold, daring, fearless, and highly inventive. This requires outside the box thinking that doesn’t conform to the norm for conforming sake. When your goals are audacious you take bold steps but with faith in God that He will reward your efforts.
Therefore be audacious! Stop thinking inside the box and stop the negative arguments against yourself and your goals. Let the size of your God determine the size of your goal. Don’t limit God by small thinking!
Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us. –Ephesians 3:20
More specifically, faith goals are God’s inspired goals. These goals produce feelings or thoughts towards that which is kingdom oriented. They build confidence in you – not in your ability but in God ability to help you do what you need to do and in His awesome power to perform a great work in your life that you’re not capable of alone. When you have F.A.I.T.H. goals you are inspired by the belief in a better future.
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
No matter where you are in your Christian walk, you would have realized by now that God is at work in you to change you and others into better His image and likeness. So whenever you set F.A.I.T.H. goals aim to impact others in your sphere of influence. The beauty of goal setting is that it doesn’t end after you have put it in writing. There is more involved. The journey to achieve your goals is a journey in which you and others will see transformation in your perspective, your character and other areas of your life. You will with God’s help know Him more and make Him known to others. You will become more like Christ. In the midst of the goal setting and goal getting, you should be kingdom-focused and kingdom driven. Therefore, be the light and the salt of the earth while accomplishing your goals.
F.A.I.T.H. goals give you a hope and a future that are good and exciting to look forward to. They will give you the impetus to get up and go in the morning. They will spur you on when the going gets tough. They will keep your eyes on the prize (particularly I you review them regularly). They will inspire you to do good works.
When you create F.A.I.T.H. goals, you are expressing hope. You are expressing your belief that you will succeed at what you are about to do. In reality, goals are statements of faith or statements of hope. When you set an F.A.I.T.H. goal you believe that God will help you to accomplish it.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. –Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
I hope that this post in inspire and challenge you to set your goals full of FAITH in the Almighty God. As you go through the goal setting process and as you work on this through the year, as yourself, “Will this require me to have faith in God?” Matthew 9:29, Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Your faith determines what you receive or achieve in this life. God works with your faith. God acts on your behalf based on your faith. And it pleases Him when you have faith in Him. So remember, how much He does in your life have a lot to do with how much you believe He can do in your life. Your F.A.I.T.H. goals make that statement, “Lord, I have faith in you to accomplish…”
My friend, as you take this journey to dream great dreams. The question isn’t who you think you are but who do you think God is. Create F.A.I.T.H. goals to speak to the greatness of your God. God bless you!
It’s not too late to start setting F.A.I.T.H. goals and living out God’s success in you. I created the 2016 Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner out of a desire to have a goal setting process with a Christian perspective. I hope you’ll get a copy and start the road to living successfully in Christ.