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Goal setting in your spiritual life?
It’s a strange concept, isn’t it?
If anything, we’re wise to be mindful of our relationship with God and seek ways to improve it. Because let’s face it, if we’re estranged from God, it’s us who moved away…not Him. (See James 4:1-10)
Think about this next question for a bit:
What if you treated all your relationships like you treat your relationship with Jesus?
If we’re honest with ourselves, some of our relationships would improve but the majority of them would shrivel, become anemic, and die if we aren’t careful.
So having goals to improve our relationship with Jesus makes total sense, doesn’t it? Especially when everything in our life flows from that relationship. (Colossians 1:16-17; Romans 8:1-39)
But before we go too far, lets review where we are in our Goal setting path.
We’ve stated our goal
What is yours?
- Time in the Word?
- Prayer time?
- Church attendance?
- Praying for others?
- Committing to a small group?
- Verse memorization?
- All of the above?
We’ve determined our Home Base (evaluated all areas of our life)
- Where are you at this moment in these areas?
- How are you doing?
- Do you need to do some tweaking? Or an all-out overhaul?
- Do you need to start but are not sure how?
- Maybe you’re doing well in most of these areas but some are lacking a finishing touch.
- Maybe you are good in this area, in that case, who could you mentor along.
We’ve analyzed our evaluations to see what tools and resources we need to accomplish our goals
- What resources do you need?
- Bible Study?
- Help to learn how to read and study your Bible?
- A mentor?
- Are you unsure what other tools you need?
- Comment on this post and I will help you get started in the right direction.
We will go through all of that now. If I miss anything or there are things you wish I covered or you want more resources, please comment below and I will do what I can for you. Of all the goals we create, this is the most important one as it not only affects our life here on this planet but also eternity.
Now let’s lay out our path.
My favorite Bible for Bible study is the Life Application Study Bible. It comes in various translations and has a wonderful commentary below the text which offers cultural and historical background as well as insights to bring the Scriptures more to life.
(In)courage has just come out with a devotional Bible that is getting RAVE reviews. I have not seen this one yet, but it’s on my Christmas list!
You Version has an app you can add to your phone, tablet, and/or computer. They have s MANY free versions of the Bible as well as 100s of free Bible studies, devotionals, and reading plans. However, when I do their reading plans, I don’t read the passages on the app. I read them in my physical Bible to eliminate distraction from notifications popping up on my phone.
I also have other devotionals and Bible studies from various authors. Some of my favorites are by Liz Curtis Higgs, Beth Moore, John MacArthur, John Maxwell, and Oswald Chambers to name a few.
Journal/notebook/3-ring binder and (pretty colored) pens, highlighters.
I personally like to use colorful pens (purple, green, and orange are my favs) rather than basic black and blue. Those remind me too much of bruises. And color…well, it seems to add an element of joy to whatever you’re writing.
Journal and pens (see above)
There are beautiful prayer journals out there too. I personally don’t use them. I prefer a regular journal. (But I do love the title of this one, it fit perfectly, don’t you think?)
3×5 cards are my favorite tool and of course, pretty pens—although I usually use colorful 3×5 cards so this is a place I will use black ink. 🙂 I write my 1-2 verses on a few different cards
- One goes on my mirror
- One goes on my desk
- One goes in my purse
Bringing other people in
This could be done is so many ways, a combination of ways, or all the above
First, ask God to lead you to the right person or people. They have to be people you can and do trust.
- Find a mentor
- one who is a little further than you in this process and will be able to help guide and encourage you in the process.
- Accountability partner
- Who is willing to walk with you side-by-side in this process?
- They do a Bible study/devotional with you and talk about it
- Have a prayer partner
- Someone who will pray with and for you.
- Join a small group in your church where you can circle-up and do life with them.
- Small groups are a wonderful place to find support and encouragement and offer you opportunities to offer those things to others.
Set up and organize your environment
- Choose a quiet, semi-private to private place to do your quiet time
- Mine is a small area in my office
- I have a basket/bin on the table where I do my quiet time (prayer and Bible study) in it I have:
- My Bible study journal
- Read Tips on How to Keep a Bible Study Journal here
- Prayer Journal
- I will link an up-coming blog post how I do this
- 3×5 cards
- Various devotionals
- Post-it notes
- Inevitably something not on topic will pop into my head, like get milk, and I write it on the post-it and keep going. (yes, these are also in pretty colors)
- My Bible study journal
- My Bible is usually needing to be brought back there because I have it next me while I’m writing.
This seems easy, but it can be challenging.
Because the last thing Satan wants is for you to grow in your relationship with Jesus so he will do everything he can to usurp your efforts. Don’t let that discourage you. Pray against this and keep pushing forward. Claim Ephesians 1:19-20 and let the Spirit fill you.
Everyone is different. You have to find the time that’s right for you.
I prefer to do my time in the morning. It sets the tone for the rest of my day.
I know many people say to do it first thing, but I like to do mine after I workout. Because then I’m physically able to sit still without getting fidgety. My head and heart are clear and I’m better able to focus.
I know some that feel too rushed in the morning and like to do it on their lunch break or after work
If you do your quiet time at night, just do it BEFORE you crawl into bed…lest you nod off 1/2 way through. 😉
Create a reward schedule
I don’t create “rewards” with my Spiritual goals, I leave that up to God. His rewards are much greater than I could ever hope for myself. The qualities of Spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), calm, clarity, a sense of purpose and holy ambition, and Him. A closeness to Him. I fall more and more in love with Him. That, my Friend, IS my reward. It’s what brings me back time after time.
I confess it took me a while to get to this point, a few weeks maybe…but it’s worth it.
Break it down Monthly, Weekly, Daily
This all depends on where you are now. So this is a starting example
- First month: Read my Bible 15 minutes a day 4 days a week + 1 memorize Bible verse per week
- Second month: Read my Bible 15 minutes a day 5 days a week + 1 memorize Bible verse per week
- Third month: Read my Bible 15 minutes a day 6 days a week + 1 memorize Bible verse per week
- Fourth month: Read my Bible 15 minutes a day 6 days a week and journal + 1 memorize Bible verse per week
Weekly (for the first month)
- Week one: Schedule 15 minutes of reading into my morning routine (wake up earlier?)
- Week two: Evaluate how week one went? Better when I first wake or before I leave for the day?
- Week three: If mornings are the best, stick with it. If not, how does my lunch hour work? Or breaks between classes? After work/class?
- Week four: Find your best time and be most consistent. Just give yourself grace as you figure it out. And know that some weeks you may need to rearrange things because let’s face it, life happens.
The second month on…
Like the first month, schedule your time. Some days may be morning, some days evening, others afternoon. But write it in your schedule.
Ask God to help you understand what you’re reading so that you can apply it
Eliminate distractions the best you can and make this a priority
If you are like me, you will develop a hunger for the Word and will look forward to spending time in it every day. (Another reward)
I hope this helped you start mapping your goals.
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Other posts in this Series:
Goal Setting: Determining Home Base
Goal Setting Part 2: Declaring Your End Point and Needed Resources
Goal Setting Part 3: New Pathways and New Habits
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