“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.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
“O LORD, help me understand my mortality and the brevity of life! Let me realize how quickly my life will pass! Look, you make my days short-lived, and my life span is nothing from your perspective. Surely all people, even those who seem secure, are nothing but vapor.” (Net Bible).
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (NIV)
It has been a joy for me to go through the process of blogging about planning and aligning our hearts, minds, bodies to God’s will and evaluating through His lens. The planning process is necessary and often neglected because it is not a once and done occupation. I want to dare to dream and try to do things that I would normally limit myself on, but simultaneously surrender it all to God, delighting in the truth that His way is best.
There is a fine line between planning for temporary pleasure and planning that is divinely inspired. By saying divinely inspired, I mean it is something God truly placed on our hearts, and not us manipulating to have it be a part of His plan for our own desires. Sometimes it is not clear. We plan and wonder if it is what we are supposed to be doing. That’s ok – as long as our plans are submitted to God and we trust His will.
At the root of our plans our motivation might be difficult to discern, but it reveals the impetus behind the inspiration for our goals. Pride, insecurity, fame, jealousy, popularity or any other carnal catalysts toward a goal will be burned up in the end. But purifying our motives before God can confirm whether a goal really is worthwhile, after all, and have eternal rewards. Recognizing that we are just vessels doing His work, not ours is paramount.
Planning in this way leads to encouragement rather than discouragement; if a venture or pursuit fails, then I know either the LORD was not in it or that I need to go back to Him again. Self is removed when I consider the whole purpose is doing His will and I lay it at his feet again, praying whether it is something I need to cease or whether it is an opportunity to grow in character and not give up. If I look for outward signs only, including man’s praise rather than an inner peace of walking in His plan, then I can easily become confused and misled. Being hyper-spiritual is also not a beneficial solution to discerning whether God is in our plans.
If our goal truly is God’s glory, though, then the results are completely up to the LORD. Failure or success in goals is not what matters most. The success of a goal might even just be the character earned in the process. We must just be faithful to seek Him daily and press on toward our goals in Christ. Ultimately, our time investment needs to be with eternity in mind and the recognition that everything we have comes from Him. Everything we set out to do is only by His grace. Everything is all about Him.
Here’s to planning a godly year in 2015! Happy New Year’s Eve!!
Lord, our time is in Your hands. Your will be done in every aspect of our lives! To you alone be all glory, honor and praise for any accomplishments You allow.