Setting Goals as a Way of Life

Setting Goals to Reach The Deeper Life[T]he hardest part of the Christian life is that it is so DAILY.


Daniel Henderson makes this simple but brilliant observation in The Deeper Life: Satisfying the 8 Vital Longings of Your Soul.

In his book, Henderson, a former pastor, explains how we can live a more intentional, integrated life.

He explains the longings of our souls—to experience God more deeply, to know ourselves better, to give ourselves to a worthy cause—and shows how we can use them in making daily decisions and long-term goals.

But he has an unusual perspective on goal setting.


Henderson recognizes that some Christians think of goals as “repulsive” and “unbiblical.”

He sees some business books focus excessively on goal-setting.  But he knows not having any goals can be reactionary and detrimental.

He gives biblical examples of goal setting.  Noah building the ark.  Moses building the tabernacle.  Nehemiah rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.

In all those instances, God gave them the goal.

But we find the best example in Jesus Christ.  Jesus finished the work that the Father gave Him to do (John 17:4).  He went to the cross at a pre-ordained time.  And He rose from the dead, just as He planned.

Looking at the life of Christ, we see Henderson’s definition of goal exemplified: “a mark toward which you direct your life so that you can accomplish your priority commitments and live with integrity.”

Henderson then lists the six steps for goal setting.

Step One: Consecration.  “Clearly God expects us, and has wired us, to make plans.  Our motives may or may not be pure.  God knows.  He will reveal that to us as we commit our plans to Him.”

Step Two: Preparation.  “[G]ood goal-setting is captured in the acrostic SMART.” Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time-based.

Step Three: Imagination.  “It is the hopeful imagination—the sense that God is doing something—that gives direction for our energies. Good goals motivate us to keep going on in faith.”

Step Four: Execution.  “Execution is an everyday kind of thing.  Keep them easily available, as they are a key component in your daily time of personal spiritual renewal.”

Step Five: Evaluation.  “Am I staying focused?  What distractions and hindrances do I need to be aware of?  What are my time deadlines and how am I doing in meeting these?  All during this procedure, pray.”

Step Six: Celebration.  “It’s good to remember to celebrate the goals God enables us to accomplish.  …  They are visible milestones of God’s faithfulness and grace.  …  Throw a party!  Sanctify the moment!”

Henderson reminds us that setting goals is a spiritual adventure.

“If God has put plans in your heart, then believe them to be possible.  Build on the right foundation, bathe your goals in prayer, build toward them with the potential God has given you, and then believe it!”

Question: What is your process for goal setting? How’s it working for you? You can share this article on Facebook by clicking here.


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4 thoughts on “Setting Goals as a Way of Life

  1. Robert,
    Thanks for this timely post. I feel like I’m approaching a crossroads, and have a couple of ideas on which path to take, but no clear direction yet.