GOD, THE ULTIMATE GOAL-SETTER – Part 1 (By Janine Mick Wills)
Why set goals? If something is not growing, it’s either maintaining or dying. Are you a vibrant Christian feasting on God’s Word and promises? Or are you stuck in a rut? Or are you somewhere in between? Which is basically not doing either one!
I know. I can already see you scratching your head. God set goals? Yeap, if you will indulge my spiritual imagination, He did! And since one of our goals is to conform to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29), what better role model could we have? (Later in “Finding Role Models” we will consider finding other role models who have already succeeded).
What better role model could we have than God?
Before this ol’ world even came to be, God had a plan. Jesus Christ would die for the sins of mankind (1 Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…). Galatians 4:4 states that when time was perfect, God sent Jesus to be born of a virgin. This meant everything had to be orchestrated perfectly to fulfill the over 300 Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ (This site lists 353 prophecies, which you can study for yourself: According to the Scriptures). No detail was too big or too small for God.
He also had a tremendous amount of patience. It all didn’t happen overnight. In fact, theologians estimate the time between the formation of earth to the birth of Christ as 4,000 years. And we get discouraged when we can’t drop ten pounds in two weeks!
Plus, we don’t see any account of God wringing His hands when the path from Point A to Point C didn’t go through Point B. He just planned a different way!
Let’s take the life of Joseph as one example of how God’s plan or will was orchestrated.
Joseph was a happy carpenter, planning his nuptial to the fair Mary. In the Jewish economy, a young man espoused himself (became engaged) to a young lady, and then built an extension onto his father’s house. Only when the father said things were ship-shape, could the young man take his bride (This illustration is a beautiful picture of Christ coming back for us, His bride).
I’m not sure how Joseph found out his beloved Mary was pregnant. She told him? She started to show? The town gossip couldn’t wait to share the news?
However, Joseph found out, in Matthew 1:20 he was “thinking on these things.” His game plan was not to embarrass Mary (vs. 19 “not willing to make her a publick example) but instead to “put her away privily”. This shows the love he had for her and his outstanding character.
But poor Mary, what would happen to her if Joseph forsook her? She’d be an unwed mother with very little, if no, options. What would happen to her child? Who would provide for the two of them?
Was God worried? Not a chance. He sent an angel in a dream to convince Joseph to not to be afraid and to Mary marry (I’m sorry. I just couldn’t help but type that!).
Joseph probably planned to make cabinets, dressers, and other pieces of furniture from that day forward. But, nope. Ceaesar Augustus upset Joseph’s apple cart (Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed).
Joseph could have fussed and fumed, like many of us do when things don’t go exactly as we plan. He had a thriving business (I’m sure the man who would one day teach Jesus how to hammer a nail was the best around) and a VERY pregnant wife. Couldn’t he file a waiver and journey to Bethlehem (90 miles away) after the baby was born? No. Joseph was a law-abiding citizen and also a part of the plan God had set in motion thousands of years prior.
Joseph was part of the plan God had set in motion thousands of years prior.
Joseph packed an overnight bag (OK, maybe it wasn’t an overnight bag, but I’m sure he made provisions for the trip), bundled up Mary, and headed for the city of David (Bethlehem).
Was it a coincidence that Joseph “was of the house and lineage of David” (vs. 4)? Nope, again. Because the book of Micah had foretold that Christ, the ruler of Israel, would be born in Bethlehem some 700 years earlier (Micah 5:2).
But this wasn’t where Joseph’s (thus God’s) problems ended (to say nothing of the “No Occupancy” sign in every inn in town).
Ol’ King Herod feared he might lose his crown. So, he set his own plan in motion (This is an example of an ungodly goal!). He wanted to kill his competition.
This really could have ruined God’s plan. It’s kinda hard to provide a Savior for the world, when there is no Savior.
But again, God worked around the “kinks”. He sent another angel (or the same one as before), who told Joseph to pack up, but this time “take the young child and his mother,” “flee to Egypt,” and stay an undetermined amount of time (Matthew 2:13 …and be thou there until I bring thee word…).
I wonder, if for only a moment, Joseph thought, #1, I’m not sure I want to fall asleep anymore. That’s when those angels come, and #2 Uh, God. You keep telling me to go further South of my hometown of Galilee. Couldn’t we head back North?
But as before, Joseph was obedient and fell right in line with God’s plan. Off to Egypt he and his little family went. But the goal was not for Jesus to minister in Egypt. Jesus was sent to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).
Joseph was obedient and fell in line with God’s plan.
And as you might have guessed, later on another angel appeared to Joseph in another dream. This time with instructions to pack up once more and head back to Galilee. But not just anywhere in Galilee, but to the city of Nazareth. Thus Jesus would fulfill the words spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23).
We don’t hear a whole lot about Joseph after that. We do know that Jesus was called the carpenter’s son during His earthly ministry (Matthew 13:55), and Joseph was not alive when Jesus died on the cross (Hence Jesus’ instruction to John to care for Mary in John 19:26). But what a part Joseph had in God’s plan for the Savior of the world!
There is a great goal-setting lessons in this account (These will be covered in greater detail in later posts).
- Make sure God is in the center of your goal setting. Pray and seek His wisdom and will for your life FIRST! Obviously, King Herod did not!
- Dream big dreams. Is there anything bigger than the Savior of the world? Joel Osteen said, “God’s dream for your life is bigger than your own.” If you don’t need Him to accomplish your dreams, then they are too small.
- Dream smaller dreams too. On the other hand, small goals have a purpose too. They will be easier to achieve, thus strengthening your goal setting muscles for those big ones (These can also be called short and long-term goals).
- Realize goals are made up of many steps between inception and completion. Allow them to develop.
- Know it may take time to accomplish your goals. Keep on going until you’ve climbed every mountain, forded every stream, followed every rainbow, till you find your dream (I love the “Sound of Music”!).
- You don’t have to go it alone. You might need help from others to achieve your goals. This, in turn, could encourage them to go after their goals.
- Opposition, in the form of people, places, circumstance, or things may block your way. But if you put God first (See a later post “Consider This First When Goal Setting” to be posted later), your goal setting and reaching will be successful.
- Learn to be flexible and adjust your plans. You may need to reassess your goal setting strategy, but that only means you’ve found another way to obtain your goals.
We’re just getting warmed up with goal setting. Head on over to “God, the Ultimate Goal-Setter” (Part 2) to read about God’s greatest ambition – Creation!