Jesus was a man on a mission. His ultimate mission was to die for our sins. But in order to accomplish that task, there were a few things he had to do on a consistent basis. These smaller goals were the tools he needed to accomplish his overall mission. What can we learn from Jesus’ weekly habits in trying to set our own goals?
Seven Vital Goals for Spiritual Growth
Jesus had to stay very close to the Father if he was going to complete his mission. He also had to invest in the lives of others. His mission would not be complete if he didn’t do these two things: (1) honor the Father; and, (2) develop disciples. Here are seven goals that you should be setting for yourself in order to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
1. Bible Study
Jesus knew the Word of God. He preached from it (Luke 4:16). He taught from it (Matt. 5:17). He used it as a shield (Matt. 4:4). It was not only an integral part of his life, it was the essence of his personhood (John 1:1). Jesus was “the Word,” (John 1:1) and he had “words of life” (John 6:68). If we are going to really know him, we have to consistently immerse ourselves in his words.
Set goals to pick up your Bible and start reading something. Try a Scripture reading plan. Pick a book of the Bible and commit to reading a chapter each morning (one of the shorter New Testament books is a great place to start). Join a Bible Study!
2. Scripture Memorization
Jesus probably had large portions of the Bible memorized. Only once, do we find him reading the Scripture from a scroll (Luke 4:16). The rest of the time Scripture is pouring out of him from memory. He quoted Scripture to defend himself against Satan. You won’t have a Bible in your hands when you most need the Scripture – you have to know it by heart.
Set goals for memorizing Scripture. If this is new to you, try out different memorization techniques. The Daily Grace CO has some great products and verse cards to help with Bible memorization. Find what works for you and set goals for how many verses you’d like to memorize in a week, month, or year.
Jesus prayed … a lot. He started each day with prayer (Mark 1:35). He took regular retreats into the wilderness to pray (Luke 9:28). He went up the mountain alone to pray (Mark 6:46). He taught his disciples to pray (Matt. 6:5), and he asked them to pray for him (Luke 22:40).
Again, this is an area where you need to find what works for you. Explore different techniques. A good way to start is to spend the first 5 minutes of your day in prayer. Consider praying the hours or spending the last part of your day on your knees. Set a goal and stick to it.
We are called to confess our sins to each other and to God. Confession is good for the soul. It is also essential for spiritual growth. Without confession, there is no true self-examination. And without self-examination, there is no spiritual growth.
Take time each day to reflect and repent. Or you can take time once a week to sit down, look at the past week, repent, and set goals to help cultivate Christ-like behavior in the week to come.
Jesus came to serve (Matt. 20:28). He emptied himself in the services of others (Phil. 2:7). Ultimately, he served us by dying on the cross for our sins. He calls us to do the same. We are most like Jesus when we are serving others.
Make a commitment to participate in at least one service project this year. Check out a great charity in your area and find out what they need. Sign up at your church to go on a mission trip or a local serve event. Making the commitment is the first and most important step. Once you sign up, you’re half-way there!
Jesus used the fellowship meal as a sign of Christian community. He broke bread with those who needed him. He welcomed everyone into his fellowship. To provide open hospitality to everyone is to mirror the heart and spirit of Jesus.
Open your door. Try and set aside at least one night a week to open your table to others. If you can do more, do more. There are so many simple ways you can extend hospitality to your friends and neighbors. Be creative!
Jesus made it a habit to go to synagogue every week (Luke 4:16). He made it a habit to get away from the stress of life to spend time with God. Worship is simply turning your attention to God. Worship means that you unplug from the world and take time to focus completely on God.
Have you ever had someone talk to you at a party while their eyes darted around the room looking for someone else to talk to? How did that make you feel? That’s what we often do to God. What God wants is your full attention. He wants you to look into his eyes as if there were no one else on earth, and express your love to Him. Worship is the fuel that keeps you going.
Sign up to serve in some way each Sunday at your church. That will create accountability so that you have to show up. Worshipping each week with your faith community is a vital first step to a well-rounded life of worship. It’s a discipline that will ultimately bring great joy and depth to your spiritual life.
God created you for a purpose. You should spend your life passionately pursuing that purpose. These seven goals will give you the tools to do just that!