I was recently asked about how to set goals and choose habits that honor the Lord, rather than cater to our personal or more worldly desires. Sometimes it can be difficult to know if we are truly following God’s heart or indulging the flesh and honoring self. We want to stick to healthy disciplines, but also don’t want to overdo it and become bound up in obsession and being consumed by them (ie, legalism or empty religion). Then there’s other times when our flesh begs us to be lazy and tells us that the Lord only cares about our spiritual health and what matters in light of eternity and probably doesn’t really care about so much about our physical bodies so we can let things slide. But deep down we know that stewardship of our bodies and the self disciplines He has called us to honor are an integral part of our spiritual health.
In order to help shed clarity on this process, I’m sharing five tips for how to set goals and choose habits in a way that honors God and make sure they are surrendered to His will. (See Proverbs 16:3👇🏼)
1️⃣ Begin prayerfully. Pray for a renewed heart and mind. Ask Him to shine a light on any place you might be holding back. God is willing to provide direction and clarity if you are willing to admit your need. If there is any idol you are toting along, ask Him for the strength to set it down. That heavy burden prevents you from running your race full speed and you can’t pursue God’s best with a divided heart.
2️⃣ Bring sacrificial offerings. Specifically praise and fasting. Bring worship and if needed, a sacrifice of fasting in some form. These are two powerful processes and ways we fight our battles in the spiritual realm—especially when we need breakthrough or clarity. Praise: Thank Him in advance for what He will do and you will see breakthroughs in planning, direction, and outcomes. Fasting: Laying down something in obedient sacrifice to Him can yield clarity and strength. It tells God He is Lord in our life.
3️⃣ Do an identity check. Your identity in Christ should shape your goals and habits. Your goals and habits should not shape your identity—or determine your value. Once you know who you are in Christ and what He has called you to do, you can then set goals and habits that point towards your specific higher calling and purpose. The things you choose should align with making you into that higher-level person. Your value comes from that purpose, not your ability to perform, achieve, or do.
4️⃣ Bring Him glory. In all our decisions and undertakings, the outcome should bring glory to God. Everything you do should point back to glorifying the Lord. Our goals and habits habits should be surrendered to that principle just like anything else. They should set you up to do what brings Him glory.
5️⃣ Find correct focus. Our healthy habits and our goals should set us up to be focused on others, not ourself. That’s not to say they won’t be related to self-improvement or great accomplishment, but only in a way as to build into our ability to show up as our best self in service of others or do more for others.
1/ How do you set goals and habits in a way that honors God?
2/ Which of these tips is most helpful?