Saturday, June 2, 2007

Purposeful Living

Purposeful living requires planning. As the old saying goes, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." How will we reach any goals if we fail to make any? Setting priorities and reaching goals are pathways to a successful life.

Setting Priorities
To aid you in setting your priorities, here are the Seven Principles -taken from Proverbs chapter 31 - used by Proverbs 31 Ministries as a guide for everything we do.

1. The Proverbs 31 woman reveres Jesus Christ as Lord of her life and pursues an ongoing, personal relationship with Him.
2. The Proverbs 31 woman loves, honors and respects her husband encouraging his leadership in their home.
3. The Proverbs 31 woman nurtures her children and believes that motherhood is a high calling with the responsibility of shaping and molding the children who will one day define who we are as a community and a nation.
4. The Proverbs 31 woman is a disciplined and industrious keeper of the home who creates a warm and loving environment for her family and friends.
5. The Proverbs 31 woman contributes to the financial well being of her household by being a faithful steward of the time and money God has entrusted to her.
6. The Proverbs 31 woman speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction as she mentors and supports other women, and develops godly friendships.
7. The Proverbs 31 woman shares the love of Christ by extending her hands to help with the needs in the community.

Notice that the foundation of our hierarchy of priorities is the fact that God desires to be first in our lives. Then and only then can we set right goals. Then and only then will we make choices that bring glory to Him. Then and only then will we make choices that value our families over work, hobbies or friends. Since the needs of our families will change as children grow, as parents age and as we mature, we must regularly review our priorities and re-determine how best to live them out.

Reaching Goals
Living a life guided by clear priorities and clear goals is living a life with a clear life plan. Perhaps you are asking why we really need a life plan. In the book Living Life on Purpose by Lysa TerKeurst, Lysa shares:

A Life Plan
* Helps add value to our lives.
* Helps me see life from an eternal perspective.
* Helps me move past my mistakes.
* Helps me to see my potential.
* Serves as a filter for my decisions.
* Helps point me in the right direction.
* Will help me to be able to give an account on the Day of Judgment.

We must not look to the world for purpose, but to God and His Word, the Bible. Our primary goal should be to accomplish God's will for our lives. But, in order to know the will of God, we must have a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. This is not simply knowing we should trust Him, but transferring that knowledge into action, asking Him to lead our lives.

It's great to have goals, but we also need to have a plan to meet those goals - a plan from the Lord.

Acts 5:38-39 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men: you will only find yourselves fighting against God. (NIV)

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (NIV)By taking each priority or goal and breaking it down into specific actions, we get a plan.

Say, for example, I want a closer relationship with God. How can I reach that goal? What is going to be my plan of action? It may look like this:

A closer relationship with God

1. Start by reading through a book of the Bible, perhaps 1-2 chapters per day if I've already been reading. If I'm new at reading the Bible, 3-5 verses a day may be where I start.
2. Then I'll pick some Scripture to memorize - a few verses that speak to my current situation in life, or maybe a passage that is meaningful to me.
3. I'll spend time in prayer talking with God. I'll also ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand what I'm reading.

The more we know God, the more we will look to Him for our priorities, and rely on Him to help us reach our goals. For He is the one who places noble goals in our hearts. For more great help with in-depth life planning, get Living Life on Purpose and the accompanying Life Planning Journal by Lysa TerKeurst, available through this website.