A lot of us say we want to grow spiritually or grow closer to God but we find ourselves doing the same things we’ve always done without any results. We may make an effort to spend more time with God, but we still aren't seeing the growth we want.
In this blog post, we will talk about why setting spiritual goals is the key to growing spiritually as well as spiritual goals examples to consider as you draw close to God.
The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 4:7 that we are to train ourselves in godliness:
“Train yourself in godliness, for the training of the body has limited benefit, godliness is beneficial in every way since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come”. - 1 Timothy 4:7
Godliness is the goal for every Christian, a goal that is obtained through discipline and training. The verse above also refers to training the body and I realized that we should start treating our spiritual fitness more like our physical fitness.
With physical fitness, we know it takes discipline, training and hard work to achieve the results we want.
When we have a physical fitness goal in mind, we typically come up with a game plan by setting specific goals or action items of how we will achieve our bigger goal and we define how we will make it a priority in our schedules.
If you want to lose weight, you know it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes discipline, training and self-control. It takes time and energy to work out. It takes daily self-control to choose healthy foods over comfort foods. When you want to lose weight, you often define mini goals or action items to achieve the bigger goal.
For example, you may decide to work out 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes a day. You may decide to work out in the mornings before work because if you wait until the evening you know you are prone to skip a workout. Or you may sign up in advance for classes at the gym right after work. You may aim to get at least 10,000 steps a day. You may decide to not eat sweets or alcohol during the week. You may get specific and say that you want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months.
When you set these smaller goals, it sets you up for success to help you achieve the broader goal of losing weight. You have a plan of what you are going to do and you know when you are going to do it throughout the week.
If we want to grow spiritually, we need to be intentional and set specific spiritual goals to develop our relationship with God just like we do for our physical fitness.
Spiritual growth takes similar discipline and training just like our physical fitness and the Bible even tells us in 1 Timothy 4:7 above that training the body has limited benefit while godliness benefits us in not only this life but in the life to come.
Now I love working out and physical fitness. Don’t get me wrong. I think prioritizing working out and fitness is essential to our health and overall happiness.
But 1 Timothy 4:7 above tells me that spiritual fitness benefits us MORE than physical fitness and if it benefits us more, we should be prioritizing it above our physical fitness.
A lot of us want to get closer to God and become more like Jesus but we need to commit to daily discipline and training just like our workout routines. We need to set specific goals and action items and we need to decide when we will do these things in our schedule.
Have you defined how you will get closer to God? Have you assessed which spiritual disciplines you need to strengthen and which areas you want to focus on for your spiritual growth?
To help you set spiritual goals, I created a free, downloadable Spiritual Goals Worksheet that will walk you through 10 different spiritual areas and disciplines to help you come up with your spiritual goals.
The worksheet provides an overview and spiritual goals examples and space to assess and write down your spiritual goals for each area.
The 10 spiritual disciplines included in the worksheet are:
Below is a snapshot from the worksheet about reading the Bible including example goals to set in this area.
Click here to download your free worksheet and get serious about your spiritual goals and spiritual fitness.
After completing the Spiritual Goals Worksheet, maybe you’ve identified that you need to work on reading the Bible more consistently and being more involved at church.
To accomplish these goals, you could commit to spending time with God by reading the Bible for 30 minutes every day. Or you could plan to read a certain book in the Bible every week. Maybe you’ve decided that you need to join and consistently engage in a connect group or small group at church.
Maybe you've decided to read more books to gain knowledge and to grow in certain areas of your faith. If your goal is to read more books, I highly recommend reading the books below.
I've read each of the books below and God spoke to me in so many ways through each book. Scroll to the end of this post for a more detailed summary of each book.
Whatever you’ve decided, make a plan each week to stick to it. Have you decided when and where each day you will read the Bible? Have you signed up to join a group at church and made a commitment to attend?
When I started thinking of my own spiritual growth, I realized that I didn’t have specific, spiritual goals in place. Even though I’ve established daily time with God, we are always growing as Christians and I realized I needed to continue to set specific goals to work on. Using my spiritual goals worksheet, I decided I need to strengthen my prayer life and meditate more on God’s word before bed.
I make time each day to pray but realized I was feeling rushed since I pray at the end of my morning time with God. I also want to make time and come up with a bible plan so I would read God’s word every night before bed.
To accomplish these spiritual goals, I made a goal to set aside certain days of the week to pray for specific things.
For example, on Thursday we have our women’s prayer at church so I decided to pray for all the women in my connect group on this day as well. Tuesday our church has men’s prayer so I focus on praying for all the different men in my life on Tuesdays (my boyfriend, dad, brother, nephews, brothers in Christ at church, etc.)
If you want to learn more about how to make God a priority in your day, read my blog post, How to Make God Your #1 Priority, for tips and strategies to make more time for God each day.
After you’ve identified your goals and the things you need to do more of, you may need to eliminate certain things from your life that are hurting your spiritual growth.
When we set a physical fitness goal, we often identify things we need to do more of to reach that goal as well as things that may be hurting our diet.
For example, in order to lose weight, in addition to working out more, we may determine that we need to stop eating out as much and limit fried foods.
Just like with our physical fitness, we need to identify things in our life that are hurting our spiritual fitness.
We need to be honest with ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything in our life that is holding us back spiritually or to reveal any sin in our life that is not pleasing to God.
With our physical fitness, we know we need to work out but we may be reluctant to give up certain foods to get the results we want.
We need to make the same sacrifices with our spiritual fitness. If we know we are consuming certain things that are bad for us spiritually or engaging in habitual sin, they are going to prevent us from getting the growth and results we want with God.
These may be obvious things in your life like a certain habit or sin you have been struggling with.
When I first surrendered my life to God, he quickly showed me that alcohol had been holding me back from the life he had for me. You can learn more about my testimony of how God helped me surrender drinking in my blog post, Why Alcohol Could Be Holding You Back from the Life God Has for You.
Certain people could also be holding you back if that person does not have God in their life and influences you to do things that are not pleasing to God.
There may also be smaller things that don’t seem so bad initially, but over time have been stunting your spiritual growth. The shows and movies we watch, the bars we go to, the books we read, etc.
Pray and ask God to show you things in your life that you need to eliminate from your diet.
Just like physical fitness, we can’t get discouraged and give up when we don’t see spiritual results right away. Many people give up on fitness resolutions and goals because they aren’t losing weight or seeing the results as fast as they want.
It’s the same with our spiritual fitness. Growth takes time and we can’t expect a complete shift after only a few days or weeks. With God, we were created to have a relationship with him and just like any relationship, it takes time to grow and develop.
Spiritual growth is a commitment and we need to commit to the discipline and training it takes to grow spiritually. We must practice the principles taught in scriptures to achieve the results we want.
Keep making God your top priority each day as discussed in my blog post, How to Make God Your #1 Priority.
Flex your spiritual muscles today and set goals with the Spiritual Goals Worksheet to achieve the spiritual growth you've been wanting!
Below are my favorite Christian books that have helped me grow spiritually over the years and that have helped me really assess my life as a Christian. Highly recommend reading these if you haven't already. Click the links or photos below to view on Amazon.
Crazy Love made me really think about my love for Jesus and for others. This book really opened my eyes and convicted me as it made me think about my life as a Christian and how I was loving those around me. Highly recommend if you've been a Christian for a while or looking to take your life with God to the next level. Francis Chan does a great job at discussing the lukewarm Christian vs. the Christian who is all out for Jesus Christ.
I read this book twice in different seasons and God spoke to me so much through this book. Jentezen is one of my favorite pastors and authors and does such a great job at explaining the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives and how we can hear and discern God's voice. As a Christian, I've realized I always need to be listening for God's voice in my life more and this book really helped me learn how the Holy Spirit speaks to us.
I absolutely loved this book. Highly recommend for anyone looking to understand their purpose more as a Christian. This books covers the purpose and calling all Christians have as followers of Christ as well as how God reveals our unique purpose and calling for our lives. I also recommend this book for newer believers who are looking to understand their purpose and role as a Christian.
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