Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Bible Teaching About 
Achieving Goals

The Bible teaching about achieving goals tells us that having them is not enough. We need a way to reach them. I will show you four steps from the life of that fantastic Jewish leader, Nehemiah that will help propel you to success. Start by taking a few minutes to read the little book of Nehemiah.

Historical Background

To give a context, Nehemiah, is located in history with the return of the Jews to Jerusalem following their 70 year exile in Babylonian captivity. The city had been utterly destroyed under the war machine of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, in 586 B.C. The city was burned, inhabitants deported or killed, temple equipment carted off to Babylon, and the temple was leveled.  

The Persian King, Cyrus, overthrew Babylon in 539 B.C. Then, a Jewish leader by the name of Zerrubabel led the first group of Jews back to Jerusalem. As time went on, Nehemiah completes the migration of a remnant of exiled Jews from exile back to Jerusalem. 

Nehemiah held a high position in the reign of King Artaxerxes I, the Persian ruler who at that time held dominion over the exiled Jews. Nehemiah was a trusted servant and close advisor to the king. 

However, to his great dismay, Nehemiah discovered that the rebuilding of Jerusalem had languished, and that the walls of the treasured city were still in shambles. 

With great prayer and diplomacy, Nehemiah secured the favor of King Artixerxes I. He successfully assembled the resources to go finish building the walls – midst severe local opposition. He completed the job in an amazing 52 days. 

Using Nehemiah’s for an illustration, I will break down each of those all important four steps to success for you: planning, organization, leading, evaluating, or controlling – and how they help in achieving goals. 

Step One for Achieving Goals: Planning

Planning is a critical first step in the Bible teaching about achieving goals. Basically, you set SMART (link) goals, and then identify steps to accomplish your objectives. Let’s see how Nehemiah planned.

He Saw The Need

Nehemiah discovered the need (Nehemiah 1:2-4). He clarified the issues by asking questions, being where the people were, staying alert, informed, and concerned about the Lord’s work, and searching Scripture – and seeing the pitiful plight of the people. He turned the need into an opportunity. Then he went about achieving goals.

He Prayed

This Bible teaching about prayer was a critical step (Nehemiah 1:4-11). His prayer was preceded by consecration and dedication to God’s plan, purpose and glory, and was accompanied by a broken, humble heart. Nehemiah’s mission was based upon God’s promises in His revealed word, and faith that God was with him. 

The Vision

Nehemiah displayed vision (Nehemiah 2:5). The end result was “seen” in his mind’s eye, and there was a commitment to the vision’s completion. He could visualize the restored walls of Jerusalem. 

Setting Goals and Mission

Nehemiah had a clear mission with specific steps tacked to a definite target date (Nehemiah 2:5, 6). He was in command of the facts, could analyze the situation and make decisions, was objective, could handle responsibility, knew how to achieve, had initiative, and was proactive. 

He had developed the personal skills to succeed. He was sensitive to the events around him. He had excellent people skills and abilities. He was all about achieving goals!

Plotting Steps to Achieving Goals

Nehemiah carefully thought through what he needed to do to achieve his purpose (Nehemiah 2:5-16). He surveyed, gathered information, looked outward to opportunity, and inward for material, manpower, and money. He developed a detailed, step-by-step action plan to match up the opportunity with the resources.

The Bible teaching about achieving goals declares the need for plans, just as a train needs tracks. Again, we can see the Divine dimension as God was putting the plan into Nehemiah’s mind (Nehemiah 2:12; cf. 7:5). God, too, is all about achieving goals.

Step Two for Achieving Goals: Organization

Organization followed the plan (Nehemiah 3:1-32). The work was carefully organized, specific job assignments were given, and work was delegated (Nehemiah 7:1-3). Appropriately skilled and trained workers were applied to appropriate parts of the project. Lines of authority and communication were assigned. Organization is a powerful vehicle in achieving goals.

Organization is securing the material, manpower, methods, money, machinery (and any other needed resource). It is arranging and coordinating those bits and pieces in such a fashion to reach the aims decided on in the planning phase. Planning is “what to do,” while organization is, “how to do it.”

Step Three in Achieving Goals: Leading

Nehemiah led the people. He was constantly on top of the mission. He inspected, gained feedback on the progress, walked about to observe the project, and to correct mistakes. He knew the people, environment, and problems they encountered. His heart was into achieving goals, and the people could see the fire in his belly.

The record shows how he transferred his burning vision to the workers. (Nehemiah 2:17-18). The people caught it, and were motivated to follow him. Not only did the people approve the plan, they “owned” the plan, and devoted themselves to the work

Nehemiah motivated the people through encouragement. When opposition and discouragement hit, Nehemiah said, “When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses’”  (Nehemiah 4:14). 

He was aware of his workers, and cared about their concerns, needs, families, and defended them (Nehemiah 5:1-13). He maintained a positive relationship with his workers. He communicated honestly with them. He was fair with them.

Nehemiah motivated by example. He did not ask others to do what he himself was unwilling to do. He wrote, “So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water” (Nehemiah 4:23).

Step Four in Achieving Goals: Controlling

Evaluation and controls were established by Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4:7-13). One must measure progress and performance. Plans do not always go as hoped. Consequently, leaders must be flexible and able to adjust when necessary. 

Following the work, we are told, “So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days” (Nehemiah 6:15). Observe his careful and constant evaluation of details, resources, progress, and scheduling to see if his plan was working. In achieving goals, one must stay on course.

With these four steps (planning, organization, leading, and controlling), Esmie and I wish you all the best as you succeed in achieving your goals. 

Dr. Willis and Esmie Newman

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