By David Ward Miller
Faith is trust. Faith is belief. Faith requires an object and an objective.
God as the object of faith: Many people attempt to make the object of their faith their faith! People believe in believing. So we hear, “Ya gotta believe!” As if strong believing in and of itself makes anything happen.
Many more people see the object of their faith in the mirror. “Believe in yourself!” That’s the key to success we are told. Certainly, confidence has its place, but the best of us have severe limitations in knowledge, skills and energy.
Individuals, groups and ideas become objects of faith. “We have faith in our president.” “We believe in our team!” “Don’t give up believing in the process!” “I believe in capitalism and don’t trust socialism.” Life forces us to choose these objects of faith and choosing them well makes for a better life. But even these fail to qualify as an ultimate perfect object of faith.
God alone is eternally perfect in love, goodness, knowledge, and power. Making the one true God of the Bible the ultimate object of faith and trust is the wisest decision anyone can make in life.
Christians understand this and place their faith in God. But there is more. Place faith in God for what?
Goals as the objective of faith: We choose God as the object of our faith with certain objectives in mind. (I’m combining goals, objectives and even plans here, understanding the differences as they relate to each other.) The biggy goals of our faith in God are forgiveness of sins, new life in Christ, an eternal perfect home in heaven, a personal relationship with God as my loving Father, and becoming more Christlike.
More specific shorter term goals become specific statements of faith by including the prepositions “for” and “to.” For example, “I am trusting in God for a teaching job this year after I graduate from college in May.” Or, “I am trusting in God to help me lose 25 pounds this year by cutting out white flour and sugar six days a week.” (This is one of my many goals.)
Goals put shoe leather to faith in God. The less specific the goals, the fuzzier the daily faith. The less focus. The less passion. The less perseverance. The less accomplishment.
What are your goals and plans for this year? How are you filling in the following blanks in terms of physical health, spiritual growth, improved relationships, social media, career, church ministry, and financial freedom:
I have faith in God for ____.
I am trusting in God to ___.
Perhaps you never thought of it this way, but a lack of goals reveals a vital practical lack in one’s faith, an incomplete faith.
Here are a few important questions to ask as you set your goals and plans:
- Do my goals and plans glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:13)?
- Are they motivated by love (1 Corinthians 13)?
- Do they fit my unique design and calling (Psalm 139)?
- Are my goals specific and God-sized (Ephesians 3:20-21)?
- Are they open for God to change (James 4:13-15)?
- Am I committed to doing my part applying the principle of “faith without works is dead” (James 2)?
- Are my goals where I can see them for daily wisdom (Proverbs 8:34)?
Think of New Year’s resolutions as resolute goals. Think of goals as faith with feet.
Make your first goal to set goals today!
David Miller is pastor of the Church of Rocky Hill Community Church. He may be reached by calling (559) 623-5063.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.