26 Bible Verses About Goals + 4 Steps to Setting Biblical Goals
As we consider our goals, let’s meditate on these 26 Bible verses about goals. The world has a lot of good advice to offer when it comes to goal setting. We can learn about S.M.A.R.T. goals, which are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive. These ideas give us a lot of wisdom, but nothing can top the wisdom we get from the word of God.
When we start to think about goal setting from a biblical perspective, there are four steps we can take to get our hearts aligned with God’s purposes for us. After all, we can plan and goal set all we want, but in the end, it is God’s will that will succeed.
We can lay out the perfect quarter or year before us, but an unexpected move, job change, relationship, or health challenge, can completely derail our goals. That is why it’s so important to pray and seek God’s wisdom when setting goals.
How to Set Biblical Goals
Pray about it—when we invite God into our goal setting through prayer, we also invite his power and perfect plans. His ways are so much better than our ways. Prayer orients our hearts to set goals in line with his will and glory. And he promises us in his word that when we commit our plans to him, those plans will succeed.
- Seek counsel—the word of God gives us abundant counsel. Read through the following bible verses about goals and gain God’s wisdom as you set your goals. It is also important to seek the counsel of your spouse, godly friends, and mentors who have already accomplished the goals you are seeking to accomplish.
- Keep Him first—goal setting is a good time for all of us to remember to chase after God, and not his blessings. His blessings will naturally flow us we put him first. God knows that our hearts are fickle and we easily worship the things he created rather than him. Keeping him first in our goals is ultimately for our good and his glory.
- Write it down—once we’ve sought God’s wisdom and created our goals, we must write them down. The act of writing a goal down moves it from the theoretical, into a reality as we make a plan for our habits and what we’d like to achieve. If you have health-related or habit goals, you can download our free healthy habits trackers or look at purchasing the Healthy Habits Bible Study and 90-Day Habits Journal.
As we read through these bible verses about goals, let’s believe that God wants good things for us! God cares about the details of our lives and wants good things for us for our joy and His glory. Creating and growing is in the nature of God and we are made in His image. So when we set goals according to God’s plans, we bring him glory.
Bible Verses About Goals
Isaiah 54:2 says “Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense!” Often when we set goals, we expect too much of ourselves and too little of God. We need to put in the work, but we can look to God to make our efforts grow. Let’s enlarge our thinking and capacity when it comes to our expectations of God’s working through our goals. These bible verses about goals will stretch our imagination for how God wants to work in our lives.
Proverbs 29:18: “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” When we set goals, we want wisdom to guide us. If we don’t seek wisdom from God as we plan for our futures, we will run around like squirrels dogging from one place to the next without purpose. The book of Proverbs is full of divine guidance that will bring us joy.
Matthew 6:33: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Let’s put seeking God at the top of our list of goals, and trust him to provide us with everything else we need. Even if our goals have seemingly nothing to do with God, things like losing weight, getting healthy, or making more money, can all be done for the glory of God.
Proverbs 16:9: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Sometimes I think we plan and God laughs at those plans. I know there are few years that have turned out as I thought they would. Life is both more difficult and more rewarding than our expectations. So in our planning and goal setting, let’s cultivate a flexible heart that is willing to let God derail our plans for his greater purposes.
Matthew 21:22: “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” This verse doesn’t mean God is a cosmic being who grants us three wishes. It means if we pray for anything according to God’s will in faith, we are guaranteed to receive it. The key is praying for things according to His will and not our own. If we are in the word of God and talking with him regularly, we can trust the Holy Spirit to gently nudge and guide us the way we should pray. And we can expect God to answer in incredible ways. When we study these bible verses about goals, let’s do it with a prayerful heart.
Proverbs 21:5: “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” The wisdom from the Bible and from life both know there is no such thing as easy overnight money. Anyone who promises such things is not telling the truth. If our goals seem like they will take a really long time to accomplish, we are probably doing it right and investing in change that will last. We will see this pattern of slow growth as we continue through these bible verses about goals.
Philippians 3:13-14: “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” When we think about setting goals, it can be easy to let past failures and sin tell us we aren’t good enough to achieve our desired goal. We can easily sabotage our own selves in our minds. Paul encourages believers to stop dwelling on the mistakes and failures of the past but to press forward into the things we know God is calling us to.
Matthew 7:7-8: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Most of us never achieve our goals because we give up too soon. This is especially true in healthy habits and finances. What we need to succeed is staying power. God wants us to do this in our prayers and relationship with him as well. Let us not give up at the first sign of trouble or failure, but continually ask, seek, and knock on the door of our Christ-centered goals.
2 Chronicles 15:7: “But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.” As we read through these bible verses about goals, this is such a beautiful promise. When we commit our plans to the Lord, our work has a guaranteed reward. This promise gives us the courage and strength to press forward with the action steps needed to achieve our goals.
Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” When we set goals, things will go wrong. That is a certainty in life. But for believers, we have this incredible promise from God, that he will miraculously cause every unforeseen circumstance, both good and bad, to work together for our good and his purposes. This knowledge gives us flexibility in our work because we know someone greater is working on our behalf.
Ecclesiastes 5:3: “Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.” If we have areas where we are striving to prove our worth, we will find overstuffed goals that leave us restless. Do any of our goals include too much activity and too many words? Are we trying to take action where we need to trust in God’s sufficiency instead? If our goals are draining us to empty, we need to reevaluate them in light of these bible verses about goals.
Proverbs 15:22: “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” This is a crucial step in goal setting—seeking counsel. If one of our goals is something we’ve never done before, let’s seek the godly advice of those who have. Maybe that’s by ordering a book, listening to a podcast, or meeting with a mentor. We can get advice from multiple godly people, and from our spouses and friends who genuinely want to see us succeed.
Habakkuk 2:2-3: “Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” From these Bible verses about goals in Habakkuk, we see two principles we can learn from. The first is the importance of writing our goals down as we see the Lord instructed Habakkuk to write down what was important. We also see God remind Habakkuk to wait patiently for these prophecies to be fulfilled. It’s a good reminder for us that just because a goal or dream is slow to come about, does not mean that it’s not certain.
Psalm 37:4: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” The Lord giving us the desires of our hearts can be interpreted as him placing the correct desires on our hearts, rather than him granting our wildest dreams. We know that when we pray according to God’s will, the answer is always yes. And from this Psalm, we know we can trust God to show us what those desires are as we simply take delight in him.
Jeremiah 29:11-14: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” These bible verses about goals from the book of Jeremiah bring us comfort. Though they are written to the nation of Isreal in their captivity, they are also written for us in our own areas of bondage. Sometimes it can be hard to hope for the future, but God reminds us he always has good plans to restore us. Let us trust in his promises as we plan our goals.
Philippians 4:13: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” When we lay out our goals, they can feel insurmountable. Most of us are feeling burnt out and tired. Goals seem nice, but it’s hard to find the strength to do the work to get us there. In those times of exhaustion, let’s remember that it is Christ who gives us supernatural strength to achieve the task.
Proverbs 24:27: “Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.” Simply stated, in our goals let’s set our priorities straight. We need to take care of the necessities before we can plan for improvements. Preparing fields in biblical times is the same now as planning for our basic necessities like sleep, healthy food, adequate water, and time with the Lord. In order to have the strength to tackle our goals, we have to take care of our bodies.
Luke 14:28: “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” Achieving goals takes resources of time or money or both. In our heads, we may want to achieve massive goals that would completely change our lives. But we also need to count the cost in time and money and set realistic goals of what we can achieve. This is wise and when we plan this way, we will actually achieve our goals which will give us the momentum we need to attain even greater goals.
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” How often do we make a plan only to encounter major surprises and changes along the way? Goal planning is good and healthy, but let us hold loosely those plans and not forget the One who knows the road ahead and loves us dearly.
Matthew 19:26: “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Maybe we want to make a goal over a situation that feels dead, like a broken relationship, hurting marriage or child, a mountain of debt, or a chronic diagnosis. Perpahs there is not much we can do other than pray. Let’s make a plan and goal to pray and trust God to do what only he can do.
Philippians 4:8: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Science has shown us that the principles in these bible verses about goals are true. Our thoughts have power and can direct our feeling, actions, and outcomes. Let’s run our thoughts around our goals through this filter of whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. When we have these kinds of thoughts about our goals, they will influence positive feelings, which will lead to positive actions toward our goals, and thus positive outcomes.
John 6:27: “But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” Jesus knew how preoccupied we can get over our food. Whether that’s through dieting or indulging, food can rule our lives. Jesus reminds us he already approves of us as we are, so we can spend our energy focusing on what is eternal. If you need help focusing on Jesus while working on your healthy habits, check out our Healthy Habits Bible Study.
Proverbs 16:3: “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” When we commit our actions to the Lord we are doing so with the intention of bringing him glory. And if God’s glory is the point of our goals, we are guaranteed to succeed. God knows we are at our most happy and fruitful when we are focused outwardly on worship.
2 Corinthians 5:9: “So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.” This verse helps us remember the eternal perspective of our lives on earth. In light of eternity, this life is a brief moment, we are just passing through, and heaven is the eternal home we hope for. This is an excellent filter as we plan our goals. Let’s ask ourselves, how does this goal matter in view of eternity.
John 4:34: “Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” I love how Jesus describes doing the work of God, as nourishment. I know I certainly don’t usually think of my work that way. But when we adjust our goals and motivations to give glory to God, then the work we do towards them can truly become nourishment for our souls. What a beautiful thought!
Psalm 20:4: “May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.” Yes and Amen!
Goal planning is such an exciting time full of promise and the hope of positive change. We can supercharge our goal planning efforts by circling back to this article and reading through the bible verses about goals. When the ultimate aim of our goals is bringing honor to God, we know God will be working with and for us.
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Which bible verse about goals is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.
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