9 STEPS TO REACH YOUR GOAL

(I was blessed and inspired as I read the daily devotional from Rick Warren that’s why I uploaded it here after little editing. I’m sure that you will be blessed and inspired also as you read the wisdom from God given to Rick. All credit to the original writer and the glory always belong to God. Enjoy Reading!)

To get where you believe God wants you to go and be what you know God wants you to be, there are several steps you need to take that will get you focused -- 

Step #1 - Determine your present position 

"Abraham was now old and well advance in years, and the Lord had blessed him in every way." Genesis 24:1 (NIV)

You’ve got to know where you are before you can know where you are going. To do that, ask yourself two questions:

1. Where am I now? Where are you spiritually, financially, emotionally, relationally, physically, and occupationally?
2. What would I like to change? In all of those areas you identified, what would you like to be different?

Step #2 - Be specific about what you want

In order to get to where you want to be, you need to describe exactly what you want. 
For instance, Abraham told Eliezer exactly what kind of wife he wanted for Isaac. He said, "Don’t get a wife for my son from the Canaanite girls. Instead, go back ... to the land of my relatives and get a wife for my son" (Genesis 24:3-4 NIV).
You will never reach a vague goal. The more general it is, the less power it has. But the more specific it is, the more power it has in your life. 

Ask yourself these four questions:

1. What do I want to be?
2. What do I want to do?
3. What do I want to have?
4. Why do I want it?

You can’t just know the what, you need to know the why - that’s your motivation. If you don’t know why, you will give up when it gets tough. 
When Eliezer heard Abraham’s goal, he started asking "What if...?" If you listen to the what-ifs of your goal, you will fail because of worry and fear. 
You don’t need to focus on the how for now because, once you figure out the why, God will show you how. He will help you solve the problems that stand in the way of your goal.

Step #3 - Look for God’s promise

Abraham said, "The Lord brought me from the land of my relatives to this land and he has solemnly promised me that would give this land to my descendants." Genesis 24:7 (NCV)

When you set a goal, don’t focus on the problems, focus on the promises. Find a promise in God’s Word that will take you to your goal.

This is what Abraham does when Eliezer, his servant, starts to worry about accomplishing the goal he is given. In today’s verse, Abraham tells Eliezer about the promise he received from God: "He’ll [God] send an angel before you so that you can find a wife there for my son" (Genesis 24:7 NCV).

You don’t need an angel because dozens of time in Scripture God has said, "I’ll be with you no matter where you go." God is always with you whether you feel it or not. You just need to plug into the power. 

The size of your God determines the size of your goal. And godly goal-setting always starts with a promise of God. Don’t look at your limitations; look at the promises of God.
Ask yourself, "What promise can I claim?" With 7,000 promises in the Bible, you might not know where to turn. To help prepare you for your decade of destiny, we’re going to cover a promise a day in our Drive Time Devotions. 

Step #4 -- Ask God to help you

"O Lord, God of my master, Abraham," he prayed. "Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham." Genesis 24:12 (NLT)

Once you have found your promise in God’s Word, pray and ask God for success, just as Eliezer did in today’s verse. 

Is it really okay to pray for success? Yes! If you aren’t praying for success, what’s the alternative? Are you going to pray for God to make you a failure? Eliezer clearly shows us that it is okay to ask God for success in accomplishing a goal as long as the motive is right.

When your success helps people and honors God, praying for success does not become a selfish act. It is the means to good testimony. In fact, here is what the Bible says, "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God and there we will receive mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it" (Hebrews 4:16 NLT).

If you study Genesis 24 further, you’ll find that Eliezer prayed during his entire mission. In verse 12 he prays before he starts. In verse 15 he prays after he arrives in Nahor. And in verse 52 he prays in front of Rebekah’s family.

So my question to you today is this: Are you praying about your goals? Are you praying about your future? Are you praying about your dreams or are you just kind of keeping them to yourself?

Your prayers reveal a couple of things. First, they reveal how serious you are about your goals. If you don’t pray about them, you really don’t care about them that much. If you only pray about them once, they are not a desire, they are just a whim.

The other thing your prayers reveal is how much you are depending on God to reach your goals. If you never pray about your goals, never pray about your job, never pray about your finances, you are not depending on God in any of those areas. The more you depend on God, the more you’ll pray.

So determine your present position, decide what you want, find a promise from God to hold onto, claim it, and then ask God for help.

Step #5 -- Identify the barriers

The servant said to him, "What if the woman does not want to return with me to this land?" Genesis 24:5 (NCV)

Ask yourself, "Why haven’t I reached my goal already?" What are the barriers, obstacles, and road blocks in your way?
It may be a financial problem or a relational problem or an educational problem holding you back. For some people, it’s an emotional barrier. A lot of people sabotage their own success because they think they aren’t worthy of it. Whatever your barrier is, you need to identify it before you can move forward.

In Genesis 24, Eliezer had a number of barriers to his goal of finding a wife for Isaac. He had to figure out how to get to a country he’d never been to, then he had to find the right woman he’d never met. And then he had to convince her to go back with him to a country she’d never been to and marry a complete stranger. Oh, and he had to convince her parents to let her go! Most people would call that "mission impossible."

Step #6 -- Create a step-by-step plan

"May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed." Psalm 20:4 (NIV)

In Genesis 24:12-14, we see that Eliezer designed a simple but well-thought plan to find Isaac’s wife. He took ten of Abraham’s camels with him, loaded with samples of the best of everything Abraham owned.

He journeyed to Nahor and then made the camels kneel down outside the town beside a well. 

Eliezer then prayed, "O Lord, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission. See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her, ’Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.’ If she says, ’Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too,’ let her be the one you have selected to be the wife of my master’s son." (Genesis 24:42-44 NLT) 

Now this was a big deal because camels can drink a lot of water. So that meant the woman would have to draw 20, 30, maybe 40 buckets of water. That’s a serious commitment. And that’s the kind of woman Eliezer was looking for - a woman who was kind, generous, had a servant’s heart, was willing to help someone in need and would go the extra mile.

And you know what? His plan worked. A woman named Rebekah offered Eliezer a drink of water and then she offered to water his camels also. 

As you make plans to overcome your barriers and achieve your goals, I want you to ask yourself two questions.

1. How do I intend to get there once I know what my goal is?
2. How long will it take?

The second question will determine your schedule, your deadlines, and your timetable. This will help you think through a course of action.

Now you may be thinking, this is a lot of work. It’s going to take time." You’re right, it will take time. That’s why 95 percent of Americans have no written goals. 

A recent Harvard study showed that only 5 percent of Americans have written goals and many of them are among the highest earning people in the nation. That’s because successful people are willing to make sacrifices and put in the time of preparation that unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do. 

You can either drift through life or you can be directed through life by taking the time to think through where God wants you to be. Is your future worth the effort? Yes, absolutely!

Step # 7 -- Be patient and persistent

"These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will sure come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" 
Habakkuk 2:3 (LB)

Nothing great is ever accomplished without persistence and patience because, in order to be successful, your dreams must translate into work. The people who succeed in life are the people who are willing to do what they don’t feel like doing. They are not mastered by their moods, they are mastered by the Master, and they establish their goals and plans according to God’s will.

Eliezer was a great example of patience and persistence. We saw his patience in choosing the right woman by making a detailed plan. He didn’t make a snap judgment. He wasn’t impulsive. 

The Bible says in Genesis 24:21 (NIV), "Without saying a word, [he] watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey succeed."
Later, after he got invited to Rebekah’s house for dinner, the Bible says, "The food was set before him (Eliezer), but he said, ’I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say’" (Genesis 24:33 NIV). Now personally, I would have eaten first. But this guy was focused. 

What’s the point? If you are going to really reach your goals in life, sometimes you have to delay gratification. You have to do the tough thing instead of the fun thing, the right thing instead of the pleasurable thing.

And the reason that’s so hard is because most of us don’t want to delay gratification. That’s why we’re in debt. Our attitude is, "I want it and I want it now." And if we can’t afford it, then we put it on our credit cards.

It’s important for you to learn this lesson because any goal that’s worth achieving is going to have obstacles in the way. You need to have a long-term view so, when difficulties come, you can persevere knowing that you are going to get past it.

I love today’s verse. It’s a great reminder that God’s timing is perfect and ours is not. When you find yourself in God’s waiting room, just be patient and persistent. A God-given vision will always be fulfilled.

Step # 8 -- Enlist a team for support

"One person standing alone is easily attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three people are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

I’ve been to Africa many times and heard this proverb over and over: "If you want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, go with others." We think it’s important to make a speedy decision, but it’s more important to make the right decision. 

Success is never a one-man job; it takes teamwork. God wired it this way because the most important lesson he wants you to learn here on earth is to love people. Not only that, there are some things in your life that you will never be able to change without the support, prayers, and encouragement of other people. That’s why it’s so important to be in a small group.

Our verse today says it all. The stronger your team is, the more you can fulfill your dream.
The last step to going after your dream is this: you must pay the price. Success never comes without a price tag. 

Step # 9 -- You must pay the price

The only thing free in this world is salvation from God through Jesus Christ, and that one’s free because Jesus paid the price on the cross.

Eliezer had to pay a price to get Rebekah to come back with him and marry Isaac. Genesis 24:53 says, "Then he brought out gold and silver and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave expensive gifts to her brother and her mother." Great goals require great sacrifice.

If you are serious about getting a focused life you need to ask three questions.

1. What will it cost?
2. What am I willing to give?
3. Is it worth it?

The greatest use of your life is to invest it in something that will outlast it. Jesus said, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36 NIV). Don’t begin working toward your goals until you’ve counted the cost.