“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
Our plans are one of the areas of life in which it can be most difficult to trust God. So often we look within ourselves to discover desires and ambitions and form plans based solely on our understanding and limited perspective. We place the weight of planning our lives squarely on our own shoulders and settle for a life filled with pressure and failure. Our heavenly Father is speaking over his children his great desire to guide us. He longs to share his wonderful plans with us that will satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts and help us store up bountiful treasure in heaven with him.
James 4:13-15 illustrates the necessity of looking to God for our plans:
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.”
Why do we look to ourselves when we “do not know what tomorrow will bring”? Why do look to our own will when our heavenly Father longs to share his perfect will with us? For some of us, we simply don’t know that God wants to reveal his plans to us. So many believers are living without the revelation of all that’s available to them through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Know today God’s heart for you. Romans 12:2 commands, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” You can discern the will of God. You can know his plans for you. He is a good Father who longs to shepherd you into the greater things of this life.
For others of us that know God wants to share his plans with us, we fail to look for or follow his leadership because somewhere in our hearts we doubt that he will truly give us the best life. We look at the lives of other believers and decide we’ll have more fun if we go our own way. So often, we as Christians have not exhibited to others a lifestyle of being fully satisfied in God and his plans. We exhibit a lukewarm faith where we neither experience the fullness of God or what the world has to offer. And as a result, our lives are lived without passion, joy, or abundance in any form.
The truth of God’s heart for you and me today is that he has perfect, pleasing plans for us that he longs to reveal. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” God longs to make straight the paths laid before you. He longs to guide you into greater and greater things in every season. He knows what lies ahead of you. He knows opportunities and roadblocks that are coming your way. And he is the Good Shepherd who will lead you into the fullness of life available to you this side of heaven. May you trust your loving heavenly Father with your plans and experience his leadership in every decision you face today.
1. Meditate on the availability and fruit of trusting God with your plans.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
2. What keeps you from trusting God with your plans? Why do you look to yourself to plan your own way?
“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.'” James 4:13-15
3. Lay your plans before your Good Shepherd and ask him for his plans. Look to his plans for your work, family, and relationships. Ask him how he has plans to satisfy the desires of your heart for joy, passion, and purpose.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:17
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
God is more concerned about the state of your heart than the work of your hands. Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Of course God cares about what you do. But before he longs for you to accomplish his plans for you, he simply wants you to know his love. You serve a God who cares about your emotions, thoughts, perspectives, and sense of worth. More than he wants you to do something, he wants you to be something. He longs for your life to be a reflection of his overwhelming love and goodness. He longs for your life to be a declaration of his grace and nearness. Look to God for your satisfaction and follow the desires he places in your heart. May the work of your hands and the state of your heart be centered on the goodness of your loving, powerful, and near heavenly Father.
Extended Reading: Romans 12
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