Making Plans That are Pleasing to God – My Daily Bread!
Our call to cherish God’s plan is taken from James 4: 13-17, NIV, which reads:
“Now listen, you who say, ‘today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
This caution in God’s word is about leaving God out of our plans. It is not an admonition against planning altogether. I have heard some Christians say no planning is needed when it comes to the Church and the things in our spiritual life. Or that too much planning is a sign of a lack of trust in God. Some others use lack of planning as an excuse to not be accountable for outcomes. Believing, if I just let things happen, then the circumstances of the moment dictated the outcome, not any action I did or did not do. They may be thinking about the negative impact of decisions made in the past and take decision making and planning totally out of their picture so that no one can blame them for anything.
First and foremost, let’s be clear – our God is in the planning business on a macro universal level and on a micro personal level. He bears this out in His Word:
God the Master Planner:
“The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33: 10-11, NIV)
“But I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
“Many, O Lord are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” (Psalm 40: 5, NIV)
“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me. I make know the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’. (Isaiah 46, 9-10, NIV)
It’s only natural that God would expect some level of planning from His subjects as we go about His Will, His business. To incorporate planning is a conscious acknowledgment that God expects us to be good steward of our time, talents and treasures. And starting with the scripture above, it plainly says that to plan without God is foolishness. God holds all resources needed in any plan in His hands, including the most important – your life!
In this passage that life is described as fleeting, here today and gone tomorrow, a mist! We have all seen a mist on a foggy day; these fine droplets of water suspended in the air cannot maintain their shape because they are dependent on other factors in the atmosphere, i.e. movement of the clouds and the position of the sun to name a few. How so like mist we truly are, for we cannot maintain even our breath without the Creator and our ability to continue eternally is solely based on our relationship to His Son!
So the key to effective planning is knowing that we are not free to plan apart from God and His will. In fact the most important aspect of any plan is including God in the beginning; acknowledging His preeminent control over our lives: ‘If it is the Lord’s will’. Our prayer should always be to ask God for His guidance and perspective in all things. Ask Him to lead guide and direct you in His will, that you might glorify His name. Then listen to hear His voice for He will reveal Himself to you through His Word (so you must be reading it!), your circumstances or sometimes through other people.
Our Plans apart from God’s will are limited and will avail us nothing:
“Many are the plans of a man’s heart; but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19: 21, NIV) We cannot thwart God’s plans regardless of what we plan and execute.
“May He give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed. “ (Psalm 20:4, NIV) We are not in control of the outcomes; God grants what He pleases to whom He pleases. Knowing this we should always seek his input, perspective and continuing advice on all of our plans.
“Woe to the obstinate children, declares the Lord, to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin.” (Isaiah 30: 1, NIV) Here God was talking to the Nation of Judah who was seeking advice from everyone but God. The Babylonians were knocking at their door and out of fear they sought counsel from outsiders, which only got them in further trouble with the Lord. Trust God always to be your counsel, He has knowledge that we cannot even imagine!
“Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, Who sees us? Who will know?” (Isaiah 29: 15, NIV) God is everywhere and He knows everything!
Sister Girls we must always remind ourselves that we exist by the will of God and for His good pleasure. That we can do nothing apart from God! Let’s not forget the absurdity of the clay’s response to the potter: “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He did not make me’? Can the pot say to the potter, ‘He knows nothing?’ (Isaiah 29: 16, NIV) Sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it? But this is just how we sound when we do not include God in our plans. He is our Master planner!
So here is a trustworthy saying about planning: When you are in the ‘mist’ of a plan, no matter how big or small, (1) plan with God from the beginning all the way to the end and the second key – (2) trust all the consequences to Him! Trust Him to “work for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8: 28, NIV) Resist the temptation to rely on yourself and what others can do. For “have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or wary, and His understanding no one can fathom!” (Isaiah 40: 28, NIV)
Copyright© 2011-2013 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.