Do you make plans?
I have often debated the merit of making plans, especially when plans have not come about as I hoped they would and then one has to deal with disappointment. Other times, I have made ten plans and achieved seven, and then I have felt that it was a good idea to make plans. Other times I have found a paralysis in making plans, getting so tied up in the process of making plans, that I actually don’t go about achieving them.
I cannot with conviction say that I like making plans and working out plans, but I can say that making plans, has brought value to my life.
In the end, I have to agree with Winston Churchill: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” But I still have so many questions about plans. What happens if your plans are not God’s will for your life? Is it better to make no plans in your life, that way whatever happens is what God wants for your life? Is making plans just me telling God what I want to do, or is God in the whole process?
My thoughts on making plans have come to this:
It is not good to make NO plans. God expects us to make plans. Prov 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines His steps.” God expects us to make plans, to build a vision for the future, Prov 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” When we make plans, we develop a vision or a hope for the future. This feeds our faith, which is a hope for that which we do not see as yet. (Heb 11:1). A vision for what we would like to see happen, feeds faith and faith feeds a vision.
All plans will work out to God’s purposes. Prov 16:4 “The Lord works out everything for His own ends…” Rom 8:28 “All things God works to the good…” God’s purposes will prevail. Even the lottery, or chance is governed and controlled by God. (Prov 16:30) Nothing in life is co-incidental, or chance, all of it is controlled by God.
We are to make plans in consultation with God and His Word, for it is His power that enables us to bring about those plans in our lives. God is not the stamp of approval on our plans, He is joint plan maker. He promises to “show us” His ways, “teach us” His paths, “guide us” in His truth as we submit our lives and plans to Him. (Ps 25:5) He has many plans for us and as we submit our lives to Him, He reveals His plans to us.
We are to make plans and submit them to God. Prov 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” Plans not submitted to God, is just that: our plans, ideas and dreams! But when we bring the whole process to God, God is witness to what we have planned. This submits our plans under the authority of God, His plans and His purposes, it submits ourselves to Him and His power and purpose for the future.
God’s power works in our plans. God’s power is at work in the world, just as it is at work in our lives. As we partner with God in life, God’s power is released in our lives to bring about the visions and plans we have made in His presence. Here is an important principle to remember in this partnership: It is trusting God with our plans as if everything depended on Him, yet working hard on what we have planned, as if everything depended on us.
God Makes Our Steps Firm
Finally in all of our planning it is important to remember Psalm 37:23-24 (KJV) which promises security:
If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm.
Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.
Father, help me to spend time in Your presence meditating on Your purposes and ways in the world around me. Help me to consider plans for my own life, considering what You and I want to see in the future. Help me to build a vision and plan that is in line with the desires of Your heart. Then help me to work out the plans with all my heart, both in my words and in my actions.
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