Pray First 2024 – Goal Devotional

January 16, 2024
Pray First 2024 – Goal Devotional

“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead. I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:12-14

Paul's goal was to live up to the call that God had placed on his life and knew he could achieve this in Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul considered this a prize to be had.

Setting goals in our lives is very common or at least it should be, whether it's a career or a relationship or our health. If you are like me and live on a small ranch, you set goals to achieve on your property. A destination to arrive at – that's what a goal is.

Many times we don't achieve our goals because, honestly, we just set the bar too high or the marker too far away. We're disappointed because our goals are not met.

In the "Heart of God" teaching, our church has learned that goals should be "SMART." This is an acronym that helps us create achievable goals.

Simple: Our goals don't have to be complex where we spend all of our time and effort trying to figure out how to arrive. Instead, simple goal uses our energy and time to just make it happen.

Measurable: Our goal should be measurable, that is we can see the progress that's made along the way, and that progress encourages us to press on as Paul did.
Attainable: Why set a goal that is just beyond our limits? Shooting for the moon but settling for the stars might sound good but neither is attainable and it brings defeat. That's why goals should be attainable, not out of reach.

Realistic: Realistic goal setting starts with confidence and gains momentum as we press on. Keep it real! After all, no one knows our abilities better than we do ourselves.

Timely: No one will put forth much effort toward something that will not affect them in the immediate sense. Timely goals will see our effort come at a high level because of the usefulness that can be seen in how it will affect us immediately.
SMART goals bring the greatest results because they're simple, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
So were Paul's goals SMART? The answer is, yes, they were.

Paul's goal in Philippians 3:13 was...

Simple: The prize was the upward call of God, not multiple levels of achievement. Simply, the upward call of God was his prize.

Measurable: In this passage, Paul said that he hadn't laid hold of it yet but he was forgetting what lies behind and he was reaching forward to what lies ahead. So, his progress was measurable.

Attainable: The Apostle knew the call God had placed on his life was attainable. That's why he ended verse 14 with, "IN CHRIST JESUS." Through Christ is how Paul would attain the prize.

Realistic: Paul's goals were very realistic, because the call came from God and was attained through Jesus. In Philippians 1:6, Paul says, "For I am confident of this very thing that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus!" So, was the Apostle's goal realistic? You bet – very realistic!

Timely: Paul saw the upward call of God on his life as a prize to be had. I don't know anyone who doesn't enjoy a prize. So, yes, the goal for Paul to achieve the upward call of God in Christ Jesus was very timely as a prize to be had.
I hope that we all can follow in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul and be goal setters. I hope that the acronym SMART will help you set goals that are simple, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely as you follow Jesus. I don't know of any loftier goal than the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." -Proverbs 16:9

By Tracy Wilson