Growth and Goals


I believe in the importance of goals.

But as I was preparing to write this post I started to wonder – what is the real reason that I am so focused on goals?  Is there a true Biblical basis for this, or have I just taken self-help psychology and principles from business gurus and repackaged them into an all encompassing doctrine?

A simple BibleGateway search isn’t too encouraging:  There’s not a lot about setting S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, and some other stuff) goals, with objectives, benchmarks, and metrics of success.

So, is goal-setting just a nice idea, a feel-good exercise?  Or is there a true spiritual basis?

I think the answer is found in the word “Growth.”

Purposeful Growth


Question: Which way does a tree grow?
Answer: Up, towards the light.

Question: Which way does a person grow?
Answer: Well, that depends…

Growth and Goals

You see, humans have the blessing of choice.  We grow and change every day and every year and every decade, but we have the option of choosing HOW we grow and in what ways we change.  Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to keep growing and maturing.  We are urged to fight the good fight, run a good race, bear fruit, stay alert, stay ready, work, and share.  Not one of us has met the amazing full potential that God has placed within us.

That’s where goals come in.  

  • God has laid out an impossibly rigorous set of stretch goals for us: “Be holy, as I am holy.”
  • He has laid down the specs for what our lives could look like:  “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
  • He has explained what our marriages could look like:  “I love her, even when she is unlovable. She respects me, even when I don’t deserve it.”
  • He has explained what our parenting could be:  “They honor and obey me so they learn to honor and obey God.  I train them and don’t exasperate them.”
  • He has described our ideal state:  a life free of fear, hate, greed, and anxiety.  A life full of meaning, joy, purpose, freedom, challenges, triumphs, and blessings.

These things won’t come about if we sit on the couch and keep doing what we’re doing!

That’s where goals come in.  

We only have about 99 years to make as much forward progress as we can, before the dress rehearsal ends and the monopoly money goes back in the box.  Let’s make 2014 a year in which we grow by leaps and bounds.  By prayerfully choosing our goals, we are purposefully choosing which way we are going to grow.

Like I mentioned in the budgeting post last week, January 1 is a natural time to pause and consider our goals with a fresh calendar ahead of us.  Over the next 2 weeks we will have a few posts about specific areas where we can set goals for our growth.

What Are Your Thoughts? 

What are some areas of your life where you would like to experience growth in 2014?
What are specific goals that would lead to that growth?
Please leave comments!  Why are goals important to you?


PS:  The Bible is actually full of examples and information about goals.  We’ll hit these in later essays:

  1. Examples of godly people.  There are many examples of people who set goals and strategically accomplished them.
  2. Proverbs.  Take a lesson from the ant, lazybones!
  3. God’s example Himself.  He had plans and goals and carried them out in very methodical and exacting ways.
  4. Various Scriptures about growth, planning, preparation, diligence, strategy, money, and goals.  They don’t always use the word ‘goals,’ but they imply that we are to imagine where we want to be and then get there.


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2 thoughts on “Growth and Goals

  1. The apostle Paul is a great example in goal-setting. He talks about the finish line, the mark, arriving – all words that suggest there is a definite goal. He even admits to not yet arriving, which takes off a whole load of pressure. Yes, make the goals, word hard, but at the same time cut yourself some slack and measure the progress rather than fretting about what remains on the to-do list. Yeah, Paul’s my favorite. 🙂

    1. Nate says:

      Great points! Thanks for sharing.

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