God Before Goals


It’s that time of year again where countless well-meaning individuals set out goals in hope of achieving, what they perceive to be, happiness. Many of these goals are good and worthwhile. Your city’s health clubs will all be filled, bible study attendance will increase, and family devotions will happen daily. At least for the next few months. It’s not for a lack of planning that some will fall short of these goals, I know I often do every year.

I get a little too excited this time of year. It’s when the over-planning, over-bearing, over-controlling, Jimmy shows up. Planning, scheduling, and goal setting are my love languages. I plan out my weeks, my days, my hours, and try to force the results that I desire, as if my own power is the key to achieving my goals.

Recently I was reminded again of my need to stop trusting in myself and begin trusting in the power of God. While reading through Proverbs 3, I was personally struck with my sin and lack of faith in what God can do. Verses 5-8 remind us all to trust in God over our own goals.

Trust in the Lord

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
-Proverbs 3:5

My default is to trust in myself. It's easier that way because I am prone to believe I am in control of my own life. But even rationally, why would I trust in myself instead of God?

God is wise, I am foolish.
God is good, I am evil.
God is powerful, I am weak.

We can trust God and not lean on our understanding because, despite what you and I try to tell ourselves, only God is sovereign.

Trust in the Lord who directs

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
-Proverbs 3:6

Often I try to tell myself that I am in control. I don't verbalize it as such but my actions reflect my heart. How foolish I can be! Whether one realizes it or not, the Lord is directing because the Lord is sovereign. Proverbs 16:9 states “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

Why wouldn't we desire to seek out the wisdom and guidance of our all powerful and sovereign God?

Humble yourself before the Lord who directs

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”
-Proverbs 3:7

As I came to grips with my impotence my initial response was anger that control is not in my hands. This doesn’t mean I’m not responsible for my actions or decisions, but that ultimately God is the one who directs. By God’s grace I'm learning to let anger give way to humility.

The more we see God for who He is we can’t help but bow before Him in humility. We learn to not rely on our own strength or wisdom. We learn to fear God. A fear that is rooted in worship and awe of the magnitude of our Lord's wisdom and might. We turn away from the evil of self reliance and turn to the blessing of trusting.

Trust in the Lord for He is good.

“It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”
-Proverbs 3:8

We trust not only because God is powerful, wise, and sovereign. We trust because God is good. His ways are better than ours. His ways are refreshing and good for us. When we let go of our control and embrace the freedom that is in trusting God there will be peace. Not that everything will go the way we wanted, but we trust that it goes according to God’s good and perfect plan.

Planning, scheduling, and goal-setting are all good, when done in faith. A faith that is not rooted in our own power or wisdom, but faith in the one true sovereign God. Learn to trust in our God who directs. It is not the easiest lesson to learn, and won’t be learned overnight. But a lesson that is “healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”



Joe Thorn

Joe is the Lead Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, IL. He and his wife have been married for 20 years and have four children. Joe has written a few books that you may find helpful. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Joe Thorngoals, trust