Creating your Intentional Spiritual Roadmap
In Spiritual Goals Part 1, we began by looking at the big picture, long-term purpose and personal mission https://www.magnifyhimtogether.com/2018/12/17/spiritual-goals-part-1-your-personal-mission-and-purpose/. In Spiritual Goals Part 2, we spent some time on the importance of reflecting over the past year so that we can assess where we currently stand in our spiritual journey. Finally, this week in Part 3 we will focus on creating goals for living an intentional Christ-like life.
Spiritual goals can be broken down into two distinct, yet related, categories:
- transformation, godly attribute, and Christ-like character goals. These include goals such as increasing faith, developing in love of God and neighbor, growing the fruit of the spirit, transforming the mind, strengthening the inner man of the spirit, growing in wisdom etc.
- discipline and habit goals. These include goals such as daily Bible intake, purposeful meditation, consistent prayer, removing spiritual hindrances, caring for fatherless and widow, service to family and ecclesia etc.
The apostle Paul describes the relationship between the two types of goals this way: “Discipline yourself,” he writes to Timothy, “for the purpose of godliness.” (1 Tim. 4:7b).
The true goal and purpose is godliness. It is conforming to the image of Christ and manifesting God in our life. God wants us to bear fruit for Him. These are category 1 goals.
But spiritual discipline and habit goals are an instrument of transformation, the prescribed source to learn how to grow in love of God and neighbor. While we will never “earn” the kingdom by ticking goal boxes, category 2 type goals are the means God has asked us to participate with Him in transforming our minds and producing His fruit.
God has provided the water to soften our hearts, to cleanse our minds, and to produce a harvest to Him – BUT we must put in the effort to joyfully draw that water from the “wells of salvation.”
(Our participation in the transformation-to-godliness process through the instrument of spiritual habits is required by God, but we must also be mindful of other instruments that God uses to transform us. For instance, He often brings people and circumstances into our lives that we have no control over – some like gentle rain and dew, and some sun-scorching, or stormy to ultimately strengthen us and transform spiritually.)
Category 1 Goal Setting
While discipline and habit goals (category 2) can be specific and measurable, category 1 goals are much more abstract and open ended. We can focus on growing in godliness, developing fruits of righteousness, and mind-transformation – but we will never be able to create measurable steps to achievement. Christlikeness and perfect godliness will never be fully attained this side of the kingdom – the reward of life is only by the mercy and grace of God. In the meantime, any spiritual growth and harvest is only when God is working “in you to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
With this in mind, our approach to category 1 goals is open ended and personal. We will journal the journey of category 1 goals, instead of planning for a destination. From your personal mission statements in part 1, make a list of attributes and characteristics that you would like to focus on this year. You can add to the list at any point.
From this list, we recommend one attribute or characteristic to focus on and journal about each month. Once you have chosen your theme attribute/characteristic, you may find that your theme shows up in your reading. You may choose to spend time studying the theme further through a word study or finding a Biblical character that you can relate to. You may consciously meditate on what you find, and pray about it. Work on finding opportunities to enact this attribute/characteristic. You can pay attention to and journal circumstances that God brings into your life to provide means of growth in this area.
Category 2 Goal Setting
Discipline and habit goals can be specific and measured. However, it is easy to make a list of disciplines and resolve to create new habits, but it can also be overwhelming to try to suddenly change many habits all at once.
Therefore, over the course of the next twelve months, God willing, we will focus on only one spiritual discipline/habit per month. Since the habits are not unrelated to each other, the purpose is not to focus on only one habit to the neglect of all others for that month. Instead intentional focus on one habit (such as Bible intake), will also increase the growth of habits in other areas (such as prayer and meditation).
The monthly goals that we plan to post on each month are as follows:
Months 1-6 focus on “input” and drawing closer to God so that we love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.
- Bible Intake
- Removing Spiritual Hindrances
- Bible Study
Months 7-12 focus on “output”, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
- Family Relationship 1 – Husband or Parent(s)
- Family Relationship 2 – Child(ren) or Sibling(s)
- Ecclesial Relationships 1 – the Fatherless and the Widow
- Ecclesial Relationships 2 – godly friendship
- Ecclesial Relationships 3 – the brotherhood, the ecclesial community
- Outside the brotherhood – being a light, preaching
For creating a roadmap of specific, measurable goals we have a two step process through the two journal pages below.
The first journal page can help you identify where you currently see yourself standing in each area of life. If you are not doing very well in area, shade in the area closest to the inner part of the circle. If you are close to where you would like to be in a specific habit, shade in a line closer to the outside of the circle. “Level 5” is the outermost ring of the circle.
The second journal page is for you to identify a specific overall goal for each of these areas. For instance, you may assess yourself as a “level 3” in Bible Intake. On the second journal page, you will identify and write down what a “level 4” in Bible Intake looks like to you, and what your ideal “level 5” looks like. Think through, and journal what you have identified as your overall specific goal for each of the categories. Over the course of the next 12 months, God willing, we will re-visit each of them one at a time in more detail.
May God be with you as you produce a harvest for Him.