Do you have a desire to grow closer to God? Do you want to be more productive in your outreach and prayer? Have you experienced failure with spiritual goals in the past because the results were not what you envisioned?
What are spiritual goals, and what do they mean to you?
Spiritual goals are important in your relationship with God. As you study your Bible and pray, you will find yourself wanting a deeper connection with the Holy Spirit.
The purpose of a goal is to improve something you feel is lacking or gain something you do not have. Examples are goals for financial security or a healthier lifestyle.
These are good for living a balanced life, but there may remain a void. You can reach all of your goals but still lack a sense of fulfillment if spiritual growth is not among them.
Don’t allow your spiritual cup to run empty!
Learn how to set and achieve spiritual goals, understand more about why spiritual goals are important, tips for setting God-focused goals, and ideas for powerful spiritual goals.
Consider taking notes or using your journal while committing to this exciting journey!
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16 (ESV)
What Are Spiritual Goals?
Spiritual goals are any plans you have to develop a closer relationship with God.
These goals should aid you in growing as a believer. They should also help you to live a life with a better sense of purpose.
Our personal goals can, at times, be very self-focused. We look inward to what we want to achieve, what we want to change, and what we want to have.
By delving deeper into the Word of God, we learn more about who He is. We then can better understand what He wants from our lives. As we develop a more personal relationship with God, we find ourselves craving more of what He wants.
Spiritual goals help us see the big picture. They have us focusing on God’s purpose for our lives. These goals allow God to have more control over our lives.
Spiritual goals should include our family, home, friends, work, and physical lives.
You should not create your goals hoping to be in the same place as another believer. Focus on getting to where God wants you to be. Your personal walk with God is not a race against mankind.
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16 (ESV)
Related: Daily Prayer Journal
Why You Should Set Spiritual Goals
You should stop now and pray if you are on this journey for the wrong reason or believe it is a “key” to getting what you want.
Developing a closer relationship with God should be your main motivation.
Spiritual goals have a beautiful ability to challenge you while helping you grow your faith. They are not something that you should do out of guilt or obligation, but with a joyous and grateful spirit.
Knowing why you are setting spiritual goals is vital to your success. You should not overlook this step in the journey. Rather focus here and ensure your reasons and desires are in line with God.
Reason #1: Spiritual Goals Allow You to Grow Closer to God.
Your spiritual goals should not be about creating a system to get what you want. Your spiritual goals should help you grow closer to God.
When chosen correctly, these goals will lead you into a deeper knowledge of who God is. You will gain a better understanding of your beliefs and a more solid foundation in His Word.
As you pray over your spiritual goals, your heart will be more open to the will of God. You will find goals that lead you through a natural process of spiritual growth.
Imagine for a moment that your relationship with God is like a romantic relationship. In the beginning, you will take steps to “test the waters.” You will take steps to deepen the connection as the relationship grows, such as spending holidays together and attending events as a couple.
Your relationship with God is similar. You may be new to this and in the “getting to know you” phase; you may be at the stage where you are seriously committed; you could be ready to get married.
Your goals will strengthen your knowledge of the very character of God.
Related: Traits of a Top Spiritual Marriage
Reason #2: Spiritual Goals Lead You to be More Christ-Like.
Jesus Christ was and is perfect. He is the only perfect man to have walked Earth. One of our ultimate goals as believers is to become more like Christ. We want His characteristics to emerge in us.
Philippians 1:27 (NIV) states, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
Some of these characteristics do not come naturally for all. We must grow in patience and kindness, and gratefulness. We do not always give easily or forgive naturally.
You will find yourself developing these characteristics as you work through your spiritual goals. They will begin to become a natural part of who you are!
Reason #3: Spiritual Goals Help You to Discover Your Calling.
God created each of us with a purpose. He has equipped us with certain gifts and talents to achieve this purpose. We say this is our calling.
Spiritual goals will aid you in discovering your calling. If you feel you already know your calling, spiritual goals will help you create action steps to manifest your purpose!
As a believer, you will find contentment when fulfilling God’s will and purpose for your life! The void we spoke about earlier will become non-existent as you grow into the whole purpose God intended.
Reason #4: Spiritual Goals Will Create a Natural Walk with God.
The ultimate result of spiritual goals is that they will create a more natural walk with God. By following through and emerging from one stage of growth to the next, you will see that discipleship becomes a habit you look forward to!
You cannot wake up one morning and run a marathon, having never even walked a 5-mile stretch! The same principle is in effect in your walk with God.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information available, podcasts, blog posts, and the Bible itself. When you create spiritual goals, you can measure your progress and see much growth.
You will look back over some time and see how far you have come and how much you enjoyed the process!
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Related: Why Study the Bible? The Importance of Bible Study
How to Set Achievable Spiritual Goals
Such as with any goals, you must set achievable goals. You do not want to become discouraged in your spiritual growth because your expectations are too high.
Setting spiritual goals is more than writing lofty ideas on paper. You need to analyze where you are, where God wants you to be, and how to get there!
The process of setting achievable goals should be just as important as following through on the goals themselves.
Use the FREE Spiritual Goals Worksheet from the shop along with this checklist to set attainable goals.
Step One: Pray for Guidance.
Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious or worried but rather to pray about everything! Never feel there is anything too small to lift up to God! Your goals are there to help you grow spiritually!
Setting spiritual goals can be overwhelming. There can be so many things you want to do and achieve that you do not know where to begin!
Start by praying for enlightenment. Ask God to guide you in this journey. Pray that He will lead you to your purpose. Ask God to give you a vision of your spiritual future.
Step Two: Evaluate Your Current Spiritual Health.
Before you start planning your goals, you need to have a concrete idea of your current standing. You should take time to reflect on what has and has not been working.
When you look back on the past year of your life, which goals were you able to achieve? What helped in reaching those goals?
What goals were you unable to meet? Why were you unable to meet these goals? Perhaps you took on too many things at once. You may have aimed for something without first building up the proper foundation.
You must consider your personal walk with God, your sins, relationships with friends and family, marriage or children, and charitable works. All these aspects play a major role in your life.
Make notes about what worked and what didn’t work, and why.
Step Three: Set God-focused Goals.
Spiritual goals are different from your normal goals because they should remain God-focused. A lot of this comes simply from the mindset in which you approach your goals.
You might question whether making goals defeats the purpose of trusting in God. It does not!
When setting God-focused goals, you take the worldly aspect away. An example would be that you would want to become more financially stable through a promotion at work. This is an admiral goal.
You can focus this on God by making it a goal to learn and apply the characteristics of Christ to reach your full potential within the workplace.
Another typical goal is to lose weight. You can rather make a goal to spend time with God through walking or physical activity and let the weight loss be a reward!
Spiritual goals that are God-focused manifest into rewards naturally. A goal to be more intentional in marriage could create a more loving relationship, and a goal to read the Bible daily could create more peace and contentment.
Step Four: Set Inclusive Spiritual Goals.
Every aspect of your life is important to God! When planning your goals, you should not disregard any place that you feel drawn to.
For example, if the Spirit weighs on your heart about a broken friendship, make a goal to repair that friendship or create a goal to make peace with the loss. If you desire to make strides in your health, pray over this and find goals that deepen your relationship with God while improving your health.
Your goals should include your spiritual relationship, family and social relationships, physical life, and work life.
Living a life of discipleship will naturally encompass all of your life and not just set areas. Never think anything is irrelevant to your spiritual life.
Step Five: Envision Your Future.
Take the time to envision where you want to be a year from now. Picture the complete person.
Write down the characteristics of this person. Are you calmer? Are you more active in church? Do you have more availability to spend quality time with your family?
As you discover the person you wish to become in Christ, you will be more equipped to define the specific goals you wish to achieve.
The goals you determine will ultimately move you to be the person God has designed you to be!
Step Six: Create Tangible Spiritual Goals.
While going on a two-year missionary trip is a wonderful and selfless goal, it is not a goal for everyone.
Keep in mind where you currently are and where you want to be. Think of your goals as a staircase. Each step leads into the next until you reach the top.
Your goals may start with large, general ideas. For example, you may want to become more active in charitable activities. Break this goal down into smaller pieces.
You could start by researching volunteer opportunities. You can then set a goal to become involved in one charity. From there, you can grow exponentially.
If you have never read the Bible, reading the entire Bible in a year may become overwhelming. Take this goal and break it down into smaller goals. Start with just reading a passage every day. You can then build to a chapter a day, a book a month, and eventually the Bible in a year.
Perhaps you would like to memorize scripture, but you have never done this before. A verse a week could be daunting. Rather, try memorizing one verse per month, to begin with.
If you have never attended church regularly, getting involved in a ministry might be the wrong step.
You could start by setting a goal to attend church every week. Then, think about attending church every week for six weeks straight. Next, you could add in a Sunday evening service or a Wednesday evening.
When you feel this habit is solid, you can consider joining a Bible study.
Set smaller goals that you can achieve and build on. That way, you can remain positive and see stronger results.
Step Seven: Set Precise Goals.
When setting spiritual goals, you need to keep in mind your ability to track your progress. A vague goal of becoming more Christ-like will become difficult to measure.
Your goals should be measurable with deadlines. Instead of becoming more regular in church attendance, set a goal of attending five church services by a certain date. Then, set a goal of attending six services in a row.
You should always break down your goals into numbers and dates.
Step Eight: Use Positive Thinking.
You should always focus on positive thinking when setting your goals. Your goals should provide motivation and not discouragement.
If you struggle with anger, the goal to “become a calmer spirit” is more positive than “be less angry.” The focus of the goal is on the result and not the problem.
For example, you could set a goal to attend six church services in a row instead of a goal to stop skipping church.
In every goal you set, focus on the results using positive words, not the negative action from the past.
Step Nine: Find an Accountability Partner.
An accountability partner is an amazing tool to encourage you and keep you on track. An accountability partner is a person who you entrust with your aspirations to check in on each other.
You will share with this person the goals you have set and the reason behind them. You will then check in with each other regularly to help achieve your goals.
This should be a person you trust completely – a spiritual friend who you know has your back. You will need to be honest and open with each other about the positives and negatives of your experiences.
You will also need to feel comfortable praying for each other and redirecting each other when you get off track. Pray to God and ask for direction in choosing an accountability partner.
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. – Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
Examples of Powerful Spiritual Goals
You have now determined why you are setting spiritual goals and how to set achievable goals.
Here is a list of powerful spiritual goals that you can consider. Remember, not all these goals will be suitable for you now. You might find that they may become relevant later. Check out even more spiritual goals examples!
- Read the entire Bible: You can break this goal down into many different time frames and possibilities.
- Get active in church: This could mean attending regular services or developing deeper relationships with others.
- Get involved at church: You could do anything from becoming a greeter before service to helping with Sunday school.
- Pray daily: Consider the time frame in which you would like to pray and what you are praying for.
- Do daily devotionals: YouVersion Bible App is a great tool for meaningful daily devotionals with reminders to keep you on track!
- Create a Prayer Journal: Read more about starting a prayer journal and get a free printable!
- Practice forgiveness: Study the Bible and what it has to say about forgiveness.
- Give back: There are numerous charities that you can get involved with!
- Tithe: You can always start small and build upon that.
- Converse with God daily: You may have a gift for intercession but struggle to simply talk with God! He is your Father. He wants to hear from you!
- Evangelize more: You could do a study in evangelism, make a goal of speaking to a certain number of people, or get involved in outreach ministries!
- Study the Bible: There are many methods of Bible study that you can practice. Consider the SOAP method to start with! The SWORD Bible study method is also great! Through reading and studying the Bible, you will feel more equipped in your beliefs.
All these spiritual goals examples will aid in bringing you into a deeper relationship with God. Other forms of spiritual goals include:
- Read encouraging books
- Practice gratitude
- Read a book of the Bible each month
- Follow a Bible reading plan
- Grow in your faith
- Reorganize your priorities
- Set spiritual boundaries
- Fix broken relationships
- Go on a mission trip
- Attend a theology class
- Join a Bible study group or a small group
- Gain clarity on doctrine
- Stop a bad habit
- Read Proverbs daily
- Memorize scripture
- Commit to a fast
- Write your spiritual testimony
- Improve spiritual discernment
- Attend a Celebrate Recovery meeting
By now, you should know why you want to set spiritual goals. You will have worked through setting goals you can achieve and be on the path to living out your calling.
Have you ever set spiritual goals before? Share with us what worked and didn’t work! Tell us which goal you are most excited about! We want to hear your spiritual goals, so leave a comment!
Take a moment to share this post on social media or with friends, and don’t forget to check out the amazing free resources! Grab a free copy of the Spiritual Goal Setting Worksheet in the shop. Read more about instructions on how to fill out the spiritual goal-setting worksheet!