Goals can be tricky for Christians. The Bible teaches that while it can be good to make plans, we still need to make room for God to adjust or change those plans. Christians also shouldn’t focus on selfish goals… which then requires one to define the term selfish that matches the definition God would give. All of these twists and turns in goal setting can leave people confused. Setting and meeting goals is tough enough, this added spiritual level can cause many to give up.
Which is sad, because most of us could benefit from having a few spiritual goals. Your kids need to learn how to set goals that are godly, help them better reflect the image of God and see how God may want them to adjust, drop or add goals. So how do you do that in a way that makes sense to your kids?
- Explain God’s plans for everyone. God has predetermined goals for His people. First of course, is to become a Christian at the age of accountability. Naturally, obeying God’s commands would also be a goal God has for your children. The Great Commission gives us two more goals – serving others and sharing our faith with them. Finally, we know God has planned good works for each person to do in his or her lifetime. As for other areas of life, it is a little less clear how specific God’s plans for your children may be and in which areas He may leave a lot of room for personal taste. This is why it is so important for your children to learn how to see God trying to adjust their goals.
- Modified SMART goals are most effective. Because we want to pay attention to God, the key elements for your children when they create goals is are they specific and measurable? “Read the Bible more.” won’t work as well as “Read a chapter of the Bible every day.” Teach them God will decide whether the goal is realistic and achievable. The ”T” is a little trickier. On some goals, it can help to have a deadline, but they need to understand God’s timing is perfect and they may need to adjust their timeline to meet God’s.
- Prayer is a crucial part of the process. This is where many Christians make their first mistake. They either don’t pray at all or pray fully expecting God to bend to their will. Effective prayers should ask for wisdom and the humility to see and accept God’s guidance.
- Brick walls can be a ”sign” or not. This part is possibly the hardest. Is Satan trying to block your child from becoming more godly or is God trying to get your child to change or modify the goal? Often, more time makes things clearer. Keep praying and try again later. Ask strong Christians for godly advice. Try going in a different direction and see what happens. It’s not a science, but with practice it does get a bit easier.
- Don’t become enamored with a goal. So many Christians ignore obvious signs God sends them to abandon a goal, because they are certain God would want them to “be happy”. Teach your children, that if multiple strong Christians urge them to abandon a goal (like marrying a specific person), it’s very likely the Holy Spirit may be moving them to issue an important warning.
- Work on only two or three goals at a time. If your children set too many goals, they can become overwhelmed and quit. They can have a master wish list of goals, but should focus on only a couple of those at a time. As they reach a goal, they can add a new one from the list.
- Teach them to develop strategies. Your kids need to break down goals into action steps or develop strategies for achieving a goal. This step requires extra time and effort, but will make it much more likely they will reach a goal.
- Some goals require help from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – which happens at baptism. Many people who were never baptized don’t understand why they are struggling with things like the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s because the Holy Spirit is a gift given Christians at baptism. We need that extra help to truly become who God wants us to be. Those without the Holy Spirit may achieve some success, but it is a lot more difficult without that extra help.
- Goals can be set any day of the year. Waiting until New Year’s or Monday probably means the goal will never truly be set or achieved. Even tomorrow can become a way to procrastinate. Starting new goals now, gets the ball rolling immediately.
Go grab your kids and start teaching them about setting goals. Who knows what God will accomplish through all of you once you know how to see Him directing your steps?