All posts

Goals (Part 3)

This series is becoming increasingly practice oriented. As it does, I think it is important to note that my approach is merely a recommendation, one recommendation among so many available today.

It’s not important that you emulate my approach, but you do need some theologically informed approach to time management, a custom‐designed approach that incorporates your particular roles and goals into your weekly or monthly schedule.

So let me explain how the specific goals work in relation to each of my five specific roles.

1. My Goals as a Christian

If you are a Christian, you have personally experienced God’s saving act of love. And no other role is more crucial or central than that of “Christian.”

Yet I suspect the role of “Christian” is also the one we’re most likely to assume when we write our schedules. But the relationship with God we’ve been given as a result of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ for our sin should be our highest priority.

I find it useful to identify two specific goals. As a Christian, my goals are:

  • Communion with God.
  • Participation in the local church.

Communion with God. It’s possible to view our practice of the spiritual disciplines (study of Scripture, prayer, etc.) as optional additions to our routine when time allows, rather than goals derived from our primary role (Christians). Our communion with God can often remain a vague “should do” in our minds that—if we’re honest with ourselves—often takes less of a priority in our schedules than that important Wednesday lunch meeting with a colleague.

The consequence of neglecting a personal goal is nowhere more serious than when we neglect God and neglect our own souls. Scripture sternly cautions us to enforce all diligence over our hearts:

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23, ESV). We must study our hearts. We must monitor the condition of our hearts. We must work by the grace of God to employ the spiritual disciplines to keep our hearts with all vigilance.

And ultimately we must look outward and upward, surveying the wondrous cross and the Savior who died there for us. The Father’s wrath against all our sins has been satisfied. We must never lose sight of Calvary. And the spiritual disciplines help us daily focus our gaze on the Savior.

So we should be careful that this primary role is reflected in our schedules.

In carving out 45–60 minutes of time in the morning, I am seeking to:

  • Acknowledge my dependence upon God, affirm my intention to trust in him, and voice skepticism of my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5–6).
  • Slowly enter the day, careful to begin with a divine perspective.
  • Preach the gospel to myself.
  • Get my soul happy before God by meditating on Scripture (a practice I learned from the writings of George Mueller).

Participation in the local church. As those who have been forever changed by the gospel, we have the privilege and joy of serving in the local church.

When we consider how to apply this goal to our schedules, we can ask ourselves three simple questions.

Ask yourself:

  • When and how am I intentionally serving those around me? this year? this week?
  • When and how do I care specifically for those closest to me in the church? this year? this week? (For some of you, this will consist of serving those in your small group.)
  • When and how do I pray for and support my pastor? this year? this week?

These are questions that flow directly from my goal.

In the coming posts I’ll focus on my personal goals derived from my roles as husband, father, grandfather, and pastor.