As the year 2011 ends, we should look at 2012 not just hope and optimism but a specific goal in mind. What do I want to achieve? What do I want to do that will make an impact to me as an individual and to others? More importantly is how will I put God in the center of my goals and plans for next year.
As we look the in the topic of goal setting let us look at the text we will study. Written for the believers James, an apostle and the brother of Jesus Christ, points out how we usually plan or set goals.
James 4:13 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:”
We can see here that, using a usual business venture, a plan that has been made:
1.) The duration of time
2.) Target location
3.) The methods they will use to profit
4.) The main goal: to earn
As you can see its all set. I think they thoroughly studied, surveyed the market, considered if their goods are in demand etc,. Perhaps all they have learned from their business school (if they had one in those days) and life long experience are in place and are ready to take off. But something is quite wrong. Very wrong!
Turn verses 14 and 15, will give you why they are wrong:
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
“For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
What’s wrong? They left out two important things. One, the uncertainty of life. We are not secure on what will happen next. We don’t know what‘s waiting for us after we step out of the door. We don’t know what’s in store. Life is a vapor. A fleeting moment. As John MacArthur puts it “it is like steam from a cup of coffee”. Don’t hold to dear life that made us plan and set those goals.
Second, they forgot God to be in their plans. Not that they are planning some ungodly activities or employ dirty tactics but they explicitly forgot God. It’s easy for us Christians to neglect God. Once we have this plan or goal in mind that we know we will benefit we set all our strength to pursue it. We make a map on what we will do and who are the right people to contact for our success. We even pray for it and see that it is godly. But no matter how beneficial or godly it may be if we neglect God in our plan or goal it will not be a success. Also remember success is not determined in your perspective but by God’s perspective. True success is seeing God in your goal. Acknowledging Him that He holds everything.
So why should we recognize those things found in verses 14 and 15? Well by reading the whole chapter we can see that:
- It makes us love our strength not God’s providence (v.15)
- It makes ground for boasting (v. 16-17)
- It makes us love the world more than God (v. 4)
- We reject submission to God’s will (v. 6, 7)
- We became a constant target of the devil (v. 9)
- It results in sin (v. 1-5,11, 17)
Verse 15: “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
My goal for 2012 is to have Children’s library for our church. I’m targeting 100 children’s reading materials to minister those children in our Sunday school. Isn’t that great? But as I read our text in James, I should consider my plans and goals for this project that I don’t hold time and I should surrender it to my heavenly Father. Praying and seeking biblical guidance is more important than knowing where I could buy the books, the budget to allocate for the materials and how to take care of the books. Letting the Holy Spirit take control of this project is more important. It’s by God sovereign grace that will determine the outcome. Don’t search for a place where God can fit in the plan or goal. He is everywhere in it. Most importantly it’s His plan and goal. We are merely the steward of it. We should remember that.
So what’s your goal this year? I would like to hear it. Please post it on the comments.