Your Plans and God’s Plans: They Might Not Be The Same!

Posted: November 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

This past week in Sunday School I led discussion on Acts 16 and the Macedonian Call.  This discussion led me to have those in the class write down their “five-year plan” on a notecard.  Before discussing what everyone had written down, we looked at Acts 16 and how God prevented the plans of Paul and his companions from coming to fruition.  Instead, God had other ideas of what their future would look like.

After we discussed how God, by His Spirit, led Paul, Timothy, and Silas to Troas (keeping them from Asia and other places) we moved back to the notecards and read what was written.  There were some lofty goals articulated by the young persons in the room, and I became more informed about the dreams and aspirations of this group of students.  But what was noticeably absent from the “five-year plans” was any mention of living on mission, reaching people with the gospel, or following the Lord wherever He may lead.  This has been on my mind and I plan to take up the subject yet again on Sunday morning.

Here is the issue.  We all make plans.  This is a good and responsible way to live our lives.  We look to the future that God may grant us and seek to be good stewards of that future.  We should look down the road and plot our course.  But we should always make those plans with God’s kingship in view.  Remember, we are not our own, we have been bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).  Our dreams, desires, hopes, and plans should be laid at the feet of king Jesus.  He is our sovereign and commands our destiny.  Our course of life should be dominated with the glory of Jesus as its ultimate goal.

James knows this.  When he writes his letter in the New Testament, he reminds his readers of these truths.  “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’–yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’  As it is, you boast in your arrogance.  All such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).  James hits the nail on the head.  We make plans, but always with the caveat of, “If the Lord wills.”

What troubles me is how little we consider whether or not our plans are God’s plans.  Whether or not our plans are consistent with why God has left us on this earth (to make disciples–Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8).  Do we ask whether or not our plans are such that will be the best use of our giftedness in furthering the kingdom of Christ?  It seems those questions may get a nice smile, a nod, or even an occassional “amen” in a sermon, but will make their way into very few thought processes of Christians.

Paul and his friends had planned to take the gospel to Asia and Bithynia.  This was a good goal.  They were going to tell lost people about Jesus.  But, the Spirit forbade them from going to Asia (16:6) and would not allow them to go to Bithynia (16:7).  God had better plans.  This should remind us that our good plans may not be God’s plans and we must be ready to scrap our course and get on the course God has set.

So, plan your future.  Write your plans down.  But write them in pencil.  And be ready to rip up your notecard.  Because your plans may not be the same as God’s plans.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”–Proverbs 16:9

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