Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Our Plans and God's Plans

It is easy to see all of life as centered around us. The important thing is what my plans are, what I think of things, what my goals are. But this is the exact opposite of what God wants. Instead of trying to get God and others to fit in with our plans, we need to learn to love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:34-40). Other people can be a problem. They may not fit in with our agenda. They can get in the way of what we think needs to be done. We can even cover this over with a nice spiritual coating. We can claim that surely they are not really in touch God and what He wants. If they would just repent and get spiritual, they would see things our way. We can also start to see God as our servant. The One who is there to use His ability to accomplish our purposes. A magic genie to grant our wishes. And when He fails to do what we want Him to do, we can become discouraged and angry with God over it.   

One of the first Bible verses I ever learned was Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (I am told will probably be on on my tombstone. The arrangements are made it is.) But one of the things God taught me early on was that this verse has with it a reverse English. If there is no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus, there also is no condemnation for that other believer because they are in Christ Jesus. We are told we need to avoid passing judgments on other believers (James 4:11-12; Romans 14:4; 1 Corinthians 4:3-5). Now this does not mean there does not need to be correction on specific issues (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-20; 2 Thessalonians 3:14,15). But we need to avoid making an overall judgment of their person or character; we should leave that in the hand of God. And we particularly need to avoid sitting in judgment on them because they do not fit into our plans.

But we also need to put our plans in subjection to God’s plan. We need to realize that He is the One who is really in charge of the world and is working to accomplish His purposes (Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 43:13; Romans 8:28). But we need to realize that what He has planned may not be what we have planned. And we must recognize the temporariness of our present life compared to His eternal majesty (James 4:13-17; Isaiah 40:6-8; Psalms 90:1-6). Therefore, we need to be careful of putting too much trust in our own plans, but need to trust in Him to accomplish His purposes in our lives (Psalms 127:1,2; Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 3:5,6). For life is too short to waste on trying to fulfill our purposes. But rather, we should carry out God’s purposes in our lives, to serve Him and serve others (Philippians 2:3-11).

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