I define a faith goal as “an objective toward which I believe God wants me to move.” It is asking, “God, what are Your plans?” or saying, “God, I am available—not necessarily able but available, what would You have me to do?” Setting faith goals is a three-step process.
One of our critical needs in the Christian life is to spend time with our Lord in communion with Him, seeking His will and direction. God’s Word clearly says that if we seek His will and direction, He will respond by giving us that direction.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. —Romans 12:2
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. —Matthew 7:7–8
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. —James 1:5
Come near to God and He will come near to you. —James 4:8
Spending time with God is essential; otherwise, goal setting without God’s direction becomes merely striving after your own imagination and dreams. A faith goal is a statement of God’s will as far as we understand and perceive it.
As you spend time with God, you need to record what He seems to be saying to you. You need to take this second step, because over time, as you record the impressions you receive, assurance and conviction will result. “Now faith is . . . what we hope for and . . . what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). You need to be continually asking God, “What would You have me do?” but not, “How would You have me do it?” As you record the answers He gives you, you become more and more certain of the goal. It is essential to have the goal recorded, because very likely there will be testing. God’s objective is to build your faith, and testing does it!
After spending time with God and recording what He seems to be saying to you, you are ready to set a faith goal. The objective toward which you believe God wants you to move must be measurable. For example, to be a good father is not a goal but a purpose statement. To spend fifteen minutes a day with each of my children is a goal. That can be measured. When goals are measurable, we know definitely when they have been achieved. If you cannot determine when a goal has been achieved, then it was not a goal—it was an intention or a purpose statement.
There are several reasons to make goals measurable. First of all, a measurable goal gives a standard of accountability. If the goal is not measurable, there is no way you can be accountable for achieving it, and it becomes meaningless. Second, in a marriage relationship, a measurable goal can only be achieved by mutual agreement. Yet one of the major problems I experience in financial counseling with couples is what I call “goal incongruity,” which relates to this very issue and is, in most cases, unintentional. Goal incongruity occurs when a husband and wife have goals that are not identical. Therefore, at best, they are working to accomplish inconsistent goals and, at worst, conflicting goals.
Once you have spent time with God, recorded what He seems to be saying to you, and set a measurable objective, you have a faith goal—“an objective toward which I believe God wants me to move.”
Faith, in itself, is acting on the basis of what God wants you to do. Faith is an action word.
A faith goal will typically have three characteristics. The first characteristic is that its means of accomplishment may not be evident. You may not be able to see how it will happen. “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family” (Hebrews 11:7). Noah had never seen rain and certainly did not know how God was going to send a universal flood, but in response to God’s initiative, Noah prepared an ark. He had faith that God was going to do what He said He was going to do.
“God’s objective is to build your faith, and testing does it!”
Second, in many cases a faith goal may be set with inadequate resources. A story similar to that of Zechariah in the temple is found in Hebrews 11:11: “By faith Abraham, even though he was too old to have children— and Sarah herself was not able to conceive—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.” Setting a faith goal may mean there are “apparently” no adequate resources to accomplish that goal. If it is God’s goal, God will provide the resources.
Of course, you do not test God by dreaming up goals or making foolish financial commitments that are inconsistent with Scripture; that is why the process of setting the goal is so important. When you spend time with Him, you receive assurance and conviction that this is what He would have you do. Therefore, resources are of no concern. They are God’s responsibility. You do not set the goal and then go to Him asking for the resources. You let Him speak to you and develop the goal, and then you trust Him for the resources.
Finally, a faith goal will typically require setting an objective without fully understanding it. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Abraham did not know where he was going, but he went in response to God’s initiative. The goals that you set by faith in the financial area of your life may also need to be set without full understanding about how they will be achieved with present resources. But many of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 experienced the same uncertainty.
What is required on your part are two things: First, trust that God will do His part, and second, take action by making a first step. Abraham, Noah, Sarah, Nehemiah, Daniel, and David—all exercised faith by taking a first step of action in complete dependence upon God and without full understanding, adequate resources, or seeing how their goal could be accomplished. What was required was merely the first step. God then showed the second step, and then He showed the third step.
Again, the order of the process is essential:
The results of following this process are that the faith goal will be reached, growth will be experienced, and God will be glorified. Why? Because, first, it is God’s goal, and second, He is committed to your growth as a Christian. Through all of this you must remember that it is His goal, and therefore He should receive all of the glory. This means that God may not do it in the way that you think He should do it, or in the way that you would do it. Give God the flexibility to do things His way, with His timing and His resources.
by Ron Blue with Michael Blue
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