Your One-Word Goal

If you could choose a one-word goal to describe your life, what would it be? Let’s say this word represents your character and summarizes what you stand for and have achieved.

There are so many options.

I did a little informal survey, and three of the most common responses were these:

* successful
* influential
* happy

No surprises there. I get that.

Those are good choices, but I believe there’s a much better one. A word that should be at the front of our minds and top of our hearts. A word that should motivate us each day and inspire us to live for what lasts.

Why am I so convinced this is the best word?

Because when we get to heaven, if we have lived a life that pleases God, he’s not going to say, “Well done, my good and successful servant,” or “Well done, my good and influential servant,” or “Well done, my good and happy servant.” I’m guessing God wants us to be successful, influential, and happy, but I don’t think they’re his top priorities. When we get to heaven, if we’ve lived a life that pleases him, God will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21 NLT).

So if you could choose a one-word goal to describe your life, what would it be? There are many options, but none is better than faithful.

If, in the end, that’s what God will be looking for and commending, let’s think ahead to that all-important moment and pre-decide, right now:

I will be faithful.

When you were a kid, you had other goals in life. It’s likely you wanted to grow up to become an astronaut, ballerina, professional athlete, firefighter, or social media influencer. You didn’t say, “When I grow up, I want to be faithful!” But now that we’ve grown up, it’s time to refocus our lives.

We’re pre-deciding to be faithful because we will never be faithful by accident. You may have a fluke day of faithfulness, but no one is faithful day after day after day without great intentionality.


Because we love what’s easy. But being faithful is rarely easy. Right? It’s never difficult to cut corners, fudge the truth, or take the easy way out. But living with integrity, doing what’s right, and honoring God consistently takes a lot of work (and a lot of help from God). Compromising our values is convenient, but there’s always a cost. Faithfulness, on the other hand, is rarely easy. People may laugh at you. You might feel left behind. It may be harder than you expected. But remember this:

Faithfulness honors God. And God honors faithfulness.

If you are faithful, it will be difficult and you will pay a price, but it will be worth it.

To be faithful we will need to learn to trust God instead of relying on ourselves. Habakkuk 2:4 tells us, “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God” (NLT). In our prideful self-dependence, we often trust in our wisdom, our knowledge, our goodness, our abilities, or our bank account. But Scripture says that those who trust in themselves have crooked lives. They don’t walk a straight, faithful path; they veer off because of unfaithful decisions. So, because we are prone to pride, we pre-decide not to trust ourselves but to trust God and live in faithfulness to him.

This raises a question: What does it mean to be faithful?

If you had asked me years ago, I would’ve said, “It means you don’t cheat. You don’t cheat on your spouse, cheat on your taxes, use cheat codes on video games.” There is truth in that, but as I studied how Jesus talked about faithfulness, I realized it has far more depth than I realized. It’s just as much or more about the dos as the don’ts.

If you study the Gospels, you’ll see that Jesus talks about faithfulness in three specific contexts. He talks about faithfulness in how you treat people, how you steward resources, and how you respond to God. So we are going to make three faithful pre-decisions:

  1. Every interaction is an opportunity to add value.
  2. Every resource is an opportunity to multiply.
  3. Every prompting is an opportunity to obey God.

Good news: you may not be an astronaut, pro wrestler, or YouTube star, but with God’s help and some prayerful pre-decisions, you can be faithful.

Excerpted from Think Ahead: 7 Decisions You Can Make Today for the God-Honoring Life You Want Tomorrow by Craig Groeschel. Copyright Feb. 2024 by Zondervan. Used by permission of Zondervan,

Craig Groeschel
Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of Life.Church, a pace-setting multi-campus church. He speaks at conferences around the world, has written several books including his latest release, Lead Like It Matters: 7 Leadership Principles for a Church That Lasts (Zondervan), and hosts the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast.