Back in 1980 while I was in graduate school, I was struck by the number of studies that showed how people who set goals and make plans tend to outperform those who live day-to-day.
Well, here it is thirty-five years later, and setting goals is still a regular part of my New Year’s resolutions. Each January, I sit down for a few days to review the past year and chart out my hopes and goals for the future. I always set specific goals for my relationship with my wife, Felicia. I also try to set some goals for my children. Since they are grown up, I am more of a coach to them, but I still try to help them with their goals.
Along with my family goals, I try to outline two or three spiritual goals that will remain on my heart for the entire year. I do it because I want to be more like Jesus—even though I am rebellious, selfish, and stubborn toward him.
Spiritual Goals. Last January, I took one line from the Lord’s Prayer—“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”—and stayed with it for the whole year. I decided on this because I find myself too focused on this world and not enough on the glorious life of heaven or on helping bring heaven down to earth. I felt I needed to be more open to the possibility of Jesus performing miracles in people’s lives and bringing more people to conversion. I needed to set my mind on the truth that this world can look more and more like heaven.
This year, I am going to set fasting as one of my goals. Now, I don’t like to fast, and I love desserts! But I have been reading about Jesus in the desert every day. I want to think and pray about the way fasting helps us come in touch with God’s power and blessings. You’ll see some of this theme expressed in our upcoming Lenten issue, where we’ll look at God’s command to “proclaim a holy fast” (Joel 1:14).
Given all of this, I thought it would be a good idea to focus on spiritual goals for this issue of The Word Among Us. I want to encourage all of us to make goals so that we can be more open to God’s grace. Our heavenly Father wants us to keep growing in holiness. He wants us to dedicate ourselves to becoming more and more like his Son.
So think about your goals for the coming year. More important, pray about them. Ask the Spirit for some guidance, and set only one or two themes that you will try to follow. Know that whatever you do, you will be rewarded. May God bless you and give you a happy New Year!
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]