This time of year, many of us reflect on the condition of our lives. We may evaluate the health of our bodies, our relationships, or our work situation. We may even “resolve” to change things. But if we’re really serious about improvement, we will set some goals and establish a plan to move forward. But have you ever considered doing the same with your spiritual health? The New Year is the perfect time to do some “spiritual evaluation” and set some goals for spiritual growth.
We can’t cause our spiritual growth. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to transform us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). But God does expect our obedient and active cooperation (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). One way we can purposefully “train ourselves to be godly” (1 Tim 4:7-8) is through spiritual evaluation and goal setting.
This post includes both a “Discipleship Evaluation” tool and a “Spiritual Goals Worksheet” for you to do just that. But keep in mind, resolutions and goals are often hard to keep. Statistics show that, at best, only 46% of New Year’s resolutions are still kept six months into the year. People lose their resolve quickly because they set unattainable goals.
First, use this free Discipleship Evaluation form to honestly evaluate your current spiritual condition. This tool covers 17 different key discipleship areas. Your weakest areas can be great growth areas in 2017.
Next, set spiritual growth goals using the five tips below. Planning is not “unspiritual.” Living a life that glorifies God will not happen by accident. This free “Spiritual Goals Worksheet” walks you through specific areas of discipleship such as time with God, ministry, service, and Christian education.
Most importantly, ask God to guide you as you evaluate your spiritual health and set goals for growth. He will bring the spiritual transformation as you strive to live a live that pleases Him.
5 Tips for Setting Goals for Spiritual Growth
The following five tips will help us set personal discipleship goals that will keep us growing through the year:
- Concentrate your efforts. Set just one, two, or three goals at a time. Don’t spread yourself too thin. When you experience success then add another goal.
- Be realistic. Set attainable goals. If you don’t read your Bible regularly now, don’t set a goal to read the entire Bible in three months. Instead commit to read it 3 to 5 times per week.
- Think concretely. Set goals so progress can be measured. For instance, this goal is too ambiguous: I’m going to spend more time with God. Instead be concrete: I will read one Bible chapter and pray for 10 minutes five times a week.
- Include strategies. Develop strategies designed to move you toward your goals. If one goal is to memorize Scripture, determine how you will do that. What verses you will memorize? How often you will tackle a new one? What memorization techniques you will use?
- Create manageable steps. Break your overall goal into a series of smaller goals that are doable and will foster success.
How do you feel about setting spiritual goals? Have you ever set spiritual goals in the past?
This last group of resources focuses on a specific area of discipleship like quiet time, prayer, Bible reading, or Scripture Memory.