PURPOSE AND GOALS
DEFINITION: A sense of purpose is having a resolve and plan to accomplish a goal or objective. For a believer, purposes and goals are actually “faith statements” of what they believe God wants them to accomplish through their lives in the future.
FACTS ABOUT PURPOSE AND GOALS:
Every believer is a steward of resources. God has given you talents, spiritual gifts, abilities, material resources, and finances. It is required that you are faithful in managing these resources.
Purpose helps you understand your part in God’s plan. You will know specifically what God wants you to do with your life and ministry.
Goals help you properly manage your resources to accomplish your purpose. Knowing your purpose and formulating goals to reach that purpose permit you to properly manage the resources with which God entrusts you.
Jesus knew His purpose and goals. He said: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).
Jesus encouraged planning. To illustrate this, He used an example of building, saying that one should make sure they have proper resources to finish before beginning. He also used the example of a ruler going to war who wisely prepares before the battle (Luke 14:28-32).
Goals have positive benefits. Planning permits you to establish priorities for your life and ministry, make proper decisions, and act rather than react to circumstances. Setting goals makes you accountable for your resources, permits wise use of what you possess, eliminates confusion, and provides standards by which to evaluate your progress.
Goals are faith statements. The Holy Spirit within has the mind of God and reveals God’s plans and purposes to you. When you pray, study God’s Word, and plan under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is a productive spiritual activity that results in faith statements concerning what you plan to do with the help of the Lord.
Plans fail because of lack of vision, lack of training, improper use of resources, lack of prayer, unclear plans, fear, doubt, procrastination, slothfulness, and disobedience. People also fail to revise plans as necessary and fail to learn from experience. Plans also fail because of lack of attention to detail, lack of leadership, and inadequate funding and workers. You never truly fail, however, until you stop trying, and it is always too soon to quit!
When you aim at nothing, you hit it every time! If you have no purpose or goals, you will achieve nothing.
DEALING WITH PURPOSE AND GOALS:
Pray for direction regarding your specific purpose in God’s plan and the goals to set to achieve that purpose. Always make sure your plans are in harmony with God’s will.
Write out your purpose and goals. The prophet Habakkuk said to “write the vision and make it plain” (Habakkuk 2:2). David wrote out the plans for the tabernacle. He said: “All this,” David said, “I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.” (1 Chronicles 28:19).
Clearly state your goals. State what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and by when it should be accomplished. If your goals require finances, include a plan as to how these will be obtained. By clearly stating your goals, you can evaluate whether or not you achieve them and how they contribute to your specific purpose.
Organize your goals. Some will be immediate goals, while others will be long-range goals. For example, if you want to go to Mexico as a medical missionary, that is a long-term plan. Some short-term goals to achieve that purpose would be to study Spanish, take medical classes, raise support, gather supplies, etc.
Be flexible and open to change. The Apostle Paul planned to go to Asia, but was redirected by the Holy Spirit to go to Macedonia (Acts 16:7-10). God’s plans and purposes may be different than what you think, so be open to His divine appointments and adjustments to your schedule.
Evaluate your goals. Did you do what you said you would do? Do you need to adjust the goals you have or set new ones? You may need to change the completion date, readjust the budget, or change the short-term steps leading to the long-term goal.
Acknowledge the sovereignty of God. Make your plans acknowledging that “if it is God’s will” you will accomplish them. (James 4:13-15). The Bible is clear that: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
Realize that planning is a continuous cycle. Throughout life, you should continue to make plans by faith and set and adjust goals to accomplish your divine purpose.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT PURPOSE AND GOALS:
“All this,” David said, “I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.” (1 Chronicles 28:19)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
The Lord will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:8)
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.” (Isaiah 14:24)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord,” they are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 TLB)
Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” (Habakkuk 2:2)
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19)
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. (Luke 4:28-32)
If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. (1 Corinthians 3:12-13)
But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. (1 Corinthians 14:40)
…Live purposefully and worthily and accurately…Making the very most of the time–buying up each opportunity–because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16, AMP)
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
Study further on planning:
-In Genesis l-3, God planned all creation, made plans for man, and revealed His plan for salvation.
-Noah made plans to build the ark: Genesis 6.
-Abraham set objectives for his servant, Eleazar: Genesis 24.
-Joseph planned for the years of famine: Genesis 41.
-Moses was given a plan to deliver Israel from slavery: Exodus 3-6.
-The plan for the tabernacle was quite detailed: Exodus 24:12-40:38.
-In the book of Numbers, plans are made to number the people (1:1-54) and arrange the camp (2:1-34).
-Joshua made detailed plans to lead Israel to conquer and divide their promised land: Book of Joshua.
-In the book of Judges, God gave numerous plans for deliverance.
-Ruth followed the plan of Naomi in regards to Boaz: Book of Ruth.
-David prepared to kill the giant: 1 Samuel 17.
-King Hezekiah prepared plans to unify Israel, repair the temple, and build a water system for Jerusalem: 2 Chronicles 28-31; 2 Kings 16-20.
-Nehemiah made plans to rebuild the wall: Book of Nehemiah.
-The Old Testament prophets revealed God’s plans for the nations.
-Jesus: The Gospels are filled with statements made by Jesus about His purpose and plans to fulfill God’s will for His life and ministry. Jesus also communicated this
purpose and plans to His followers and to all believers in general.
-The Apostle Paul made plans: If he had no plans then the Holy Spirit could not have
changed them as indicated in Acts 16:6-10.
-The book of Revelation reveals God’s plans for the future.
Read about planning in the book of Proverbs. See Proverbs 13:16; 14:8; 15:22; 16:3,9; 24:3-4; 29:18.
Jesus had a clear understanding of His part in God’s purpose and plans. Study the following references:
Matthew: 5:17; 8:3,7; 9:13; 10:34-35; 13:41-42; 15:24; 18:11,20; 19:28-29; 20:18-19,28; 21:13; 24:35; 25:31; 26:24,29,32,39,64
Mark: 1:38; 2:17; 10:33-34,45; 14:21
Luke: 2:49; 4:18-19,43; 5:32; 9:22,56; 11:49; 12:51; 13:32-33; 19:5,10; 22:37,69; 24:44,46-47
John: 3:16-17; 4:34; 5:30,43; 6:37-40,51; 7:16,33; 8:26,29,49-50; 9:4, 38-39; 10:10,16-18; 12:24-27,32,46,49-50; 13:5; 14:2,16-18; 18:36; 16:12,22,25; 18:37; 12:24-27; Study all of John chapter 17 as it communicates much about His purpose.
Study the purposes established for followers of Jesus.
Matthew: 7:33; 9:37-38; 10:7-8,38-39; 16:24-25; 28:18-20
Mark: 1:17; 16:15-18; 8:34-35
Luke: 5:10; 9:2; 10:2-9; 12:29; 14:26-27,33; 22:29; 24:46-49
John: 4:35; 6:27; 15:16; 20:21
(For further instruction regarding purpose and goals, obtain the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “Management By Objectives” available at: http://www.harvestime.org)