There are many times in my life when I have made plans or set goals without really taking into consideration God’s plan. Not that I didn’t consider God at all, but more that I made plans and then committed them to God rather than enquire of the Lord before actually completing my plan. If I’m completely honest with you, most of the time those plans came to ruin and they were often interrupted by God himself.
What I have learned over the years is that not everything that seems good is what God actually wants me to do. I have learned that not every success is good success – in fact for me, true success is the will of God.
It’s important that as Christians we are fruitful in the things we do and that we live a life full of meaning and purpose. It’s important that we live a life which is completely surrendered to God to use as and how He pleases.
Jeremiah 1 vs 5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
A quick visual:
I often like to picture myself as a musical instrument. Imagine a musician, but the ultimate musician who has a room full of instruments each made for a task. A piano in the corner, a guitar against the wall, a flute rested on a table. When I think of my Christian walk I often picture this room. God may have made me a guitar but I want to be like the flute and so I spend my time petitioning God to turn me into that flute; but in reality I am in fact a guitar and have been made for that purpose.
I see my journey with God much like this analogy. There are times I’ve wanted other people’s gifts, talents or other elements of their lives – but failed to see the need for and importance of my own. I failed to ask how God would use me, but rather preferred to tell God how and in what way I want Him to use me.
I think of Joseph in Genesis who was given a dream and what followed this dream was Him been sold off by his brothers & even spending time in prison. We often want the dream to be moulded into our desires and into our life – but do we stop to think it is indeed us who will be moulded to fit the dream and the purpose. Everything Joseph endured ultimately trained him for where he was going. In prison he managed the rations of the prisoners, and prior to that he served in Potiphar’s house where he managed a large and wealthy estate.
This was the training he needed for where he was going. When the time of his dream to be fulfilled came, he was fully equipped. He was able to manage the finances of an entire nation during 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine that was experienced throughout Egypt (Genesis 41 vs 29-30), and in turn he was used to save a nation, and his own family.
Again – God doesn’t mould the vision for you – He moulds and prepares you for the vision.
So how should we plan?
James 4 vs 13-15
13 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”— 14 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. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
When I came across this scripture for the first time I was going through pretty serious trials. All my plans had come to nothing and God had indeed interrupted them (you can see more on that here). It was a painful lesson, but one I am so very grateful for. I had been going along my own path, thinking it was Gods path and had an idea of how I would serve God, but never really stopped and said “Lord what would you have me do”. The closer I have gotten to God, the more I realise that when I genuinely enquire of Him, He does indeed order my steps.
When we study the history of Israel and the Old Testament Bible stories, we can see many of our ways and our true hearts clearly revealed in the conduct of Israel as a nation – their grumbling, coveting, distrust, failings and shortcomings. When they came out of Egypt they had to learn to surrender to God in the wilderness before they could enter true rest in Canaan. They were led by God with the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. One of the fascinating things I see when I read this is that at times the pillar of cloud would stop at a particular place for long periods of time, perhaps months. When this happened they would camp there for that period until the pillar began to move again.
They were learning a great thing – we will not move unless you move. This is complete surrender to God’s timing and leading.
Exodus 33 vs 15
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.
Here in this passage Moses shows such surrender. He did not want to move from where He was unless the presence of the Lord was with Him. He was only willing to go by the leading of the Lord Himself.
So what are your plans? Is God truly behind them?
Proverbs 3 vs 5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
We don’t know what tomorrow brings, but God does. One thing I have been praying lately is that the Lord reveals His will for my life and that He will bring me to that place of surrender. God is able to reveal and He does speak. The word says ‘my sheep hear my voice’, and as His sheep we can be sure He will speak, but we must listen. The more I pray this the more He reveals. We must put aside our own understanding and our own interpretation of events and truly learn to lean on the Lord. It is about relationship.
When a person is in a relationship or married, they don’t just complete plans by themselves and then take it to their partner and to get a stamp of approval. You discuss your plan each step of the way and your partner gives their input and feedback.
This is what it is like to walk with God. Not waiting until things go wrong and then turning to Him, but with every day and every moment speaking with God and allowing Him to speak back – praying without ceasing.
Jeremiah 18 vs 5-6
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel
Again it comes back to surrender. How does God want to use us? God has made us all individual and as such we have a unique purpose as part of the body of Christ. Our plan must be in line with His will and this can only happen when we surrender. There is a work that God wants to do in our life but only if we allow Him to. Like this scripture with the potter and the clay – why not let God mould us completely. In Him we move and have our being – we must surrender our entire being to God for Him to use as He pleases. Our marriages, our careers, everything that we are must be surrendered completely so that His glory can be revealed in us.
“Lord you alone are the author and finisher of our faith, perfect your purpose in me, lead me in the way I should go, reveal your plan and purpose for my life. In Jesus’ name”
God Bless x