January 20, 2015
What’s the Plan?
For 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).
Friend to Friend
Every year, many people set new life goals in January. I believe Christians should be goal-oriented.
Setting goals is not about what I want to do with my life as much as it is about what God wants to do in and through my life. Someone once said that goals are the "rudder of our lives, and God's wisdom is the wind filling the sails."
God has always had plans and set goals according to those plans.
God created the world with a plan in mind. Can you imagine the bedlam creation would have caused if God had not had a set plan and goal?
Part of God's plan is for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. The forgiveness of our sin is part of God's plan. When Jesus came to earth, it was part of God's plan as were His life, death, burial, and resurrection.
God does not ordain chaos. He is a God of order and peace - not confusion and turmoil. He wants us to live with purpose and joy, and that means we must learn how to plan and set goals that please Him and line up with His Word.
Fitzhugh Dodson said, "Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination."
I have a friend who believes that setting goals is a worldly and unspiritual habit. She has no schedule, makes no plans, and sets no goals. Why? She says she wants to be free to do what God tells her to do. She prays before making the smallest decision such as whether or not she should go to work or church, clean her house, pay her bills, buy groceries, pick up her mail ... and then goes with her feelings.
Prayer is definitely an essential part of setting life goals, but there are a couple of problems with her way of thinking.
First, she is basing the leadership of God on her feelings. We cannot always trust feelings because they are fickle and can easily change with each circumstance. If Jesus Christ had based His life on feelings, He would never have gone to the cross. In the garden, Jesus asked if "this cup could pass from Me" (Matthew 26). He did not feel like being crucified, but He knew it was God's plan and purpose for His life - and so He chose to endure Calvary.
If Jesus had based His plans on feelings, He would never have let one of His best friends, Lazarus, die; but He did, because there was a higher plan in place. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, God received more glory than He would have if Jesus had only healed His friend. We must learn to plan and set goals instead of relying upon feelings to guide us through life.
My friend also assumes that God does not lead us to plan or set goals. The apostle Paul constantly made ministry plans. So did Jesus and His disciples. Jesus planned to go through Samaria where He met the woman at the well. Paul planned trips to the various churches he served. The Bible is filled with accounts of men and women who made plans as God led them.
I have another friend who religiously follows her daily list of things to do to the point that if it is not on the list, then it is not of God, and it is not going to happen. Having a rigid and inflexible set of plans or goals is just as wrong as having no plans or goals at all. God gave us a mind and a heart to use in setting goals.
Only God is omniscient and has our tomorrows under control. Matthew 6:34 says, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." My friend who makes no plans and sets no goals uses this verse to substantiate her position – but the opposite is true. We do not have to worry about tomorrow because we are living out God's plan and purpose reflected in our daily plans and goals.
Setting goals is serious business. We should not be so anxious about life that we make rigid plans which are beyond our capacity to keep, nor should we be so lazy that we make no plans at all. The balance is found when we truly seek God and His plan, and then step out in obedience to make our life goals a reality.
I know you have heard the statement, “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.” If you want to be successful, seek God’s plans and goals for your life.
Father, I need Your direction and guidance in my life. I really want to do what You created me to do. Show me the steps I need to take in order to walk in obedience and faith, and then give me the strength to take those steps.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Take the time this week to review and evaluate 2014. What goals did you achieve? Record your answer in your journal.
Read Isaiah 30:1. What does this verse say about the importance of seeking God’s plan for your life?
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Originally published Tuesday, 20 January 2015.