Setting Spiritual Goals

We set goals for everything from money to weight. We have short-term goals and long-term goals. What are your spiritual goals?

The Bible gives us a definitive goal in 1 Timothy 4:7b-8. 

Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 

1 Timothy 4:7b-8

There are three vital truths we can take away from these verses.

The Goal is Godliness

Godliness "is the reverent awareness of God's sovereignty over every aspect of life, and the attendant determination to honor him in all one's conduct (Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)." In short, godliness is living in a way that pleases God. 

So let's be clear about the goal. The goal is not to learn about God. We should learn about God, but learning is not the goal. The goal is to be godly.

The goal is not even to be good. The goal is not to do better. The goal is to be godly. 

The goal is not for you to WANT to be more godly. The goal is to be godly. 

Godliness is a Great Goal

I believe in setting goals. I often say, "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time." I had rather try and fail than fail to try. 

For the past three years, I have set a cycling goal of 2,500 miles. For three years, I have exceeded my goal.   

That's great, but when I stand before God, the Almighty is not going to ask me, "How far did you ride?"

Notice that the Bible says that bodily training is of some value. It burns fat, but we should have greater goals. Our greatest goal is to be godly.

Riding a bicycle helps my mind and body. But the Bible says that godliness has a value in every way as it not only helps in this life but in the life to come. In the end, living for God is all that matters.

Godliness Must be Your Goal

 Notice the Scripture says, "Train yourself for godliness." 

Godliness is like exercise. Nobody can go to the gym for you.

Godliness cannot be someone else's goal for you. Godliness must be your goal.

Personal ownership of a goal is important. I've seen it firsthand serving as Chaplain for a football team.

For two seasons, our coaches had been telling our players that they needed to get into the weight room. Things improved, but not a lot.

After the last game of another losing season, one of our players stood up and said, "I'm tired of getting pushed around." 

He became a leader in the weight room, and others followed. The important thing about his statement was that it was no longer the coach's goal for the players to train. Now it was the player's goal.

Nobody can make you godly. Knowing that the Bible's goal for us is to be godly, won't make you godly. Godliness has to be your goal. Train yourself for godliness.

Bible Study

Read Titus 2:11-14.

  • What does this passage teach us about the purpose of the grace of God?
  • What does this passage teach us about salvation?
  • What does this passage teach us about Jesus Christ?
  • According to the passage, what is ungodliness?


Let's think back through your day (either yesterday if you take this challenge in the morning, or today if you take this challenge in the evening). Take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns. Label one column "godly" and the other "ungodly." As you recall your day take an inventory of actions and attitudes and place them in either the godly or ungodly column. Notice the things that encourage godliness. Notice the things that trigger ungodliness. What are some "training" steps (spiritual disciplines) you can take to see less in the "ungodly" column and more in the "godly" column?


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