How to Work a Plan God’s Way

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

God is sovereign over all things, including our plans, even those plans that don’t go as planned.  Planning is a good thing if done God’s way.  God expects us to plan, but He also expects us to hold those plans loosely.  In other words, don’t get proud or over-own the plan.  Heed this warning from God:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”  But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.  (James 4:13-16)

It’s so easy to lock in on plans and have extreme determination to see them completed.  The problem is our pride.  We boast and brag and somehow think we can actually cause outcomes to occur.  The reality is that we can do nothing apart from God (John 15:5).

The goal is Spirit-directed planning and Spirit-directed living.  It goes something like this:

  1. Humble yourself before Almighty God.  If a thought, dream, or idea comes to mind, before acting on it, simply stop and ask God: “Is this Your will?  Are You leading me in this direction or am I doing this for selfish reasons?”  Basically, check your motives…is it for you or for God?
  2. As you consider moving in the direction you believe God is leading, put a plan together.  To not plan is foolish (Proverbs 21:5).  Ask the Spirit of God to direct your planning process and stay humble as you plan.
  3. Seek wise counsel as you plan. “Wise” means only listen to those who earnestly seek and listen to God’s wisdom.  Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.  (Proverbs 15:22)  Seeking counsel is evidence of humility.  Those who don’t are proud, arrogant and foolish.
  4. Move out.  Work the plan, but stay tuned in to the Spirit’s leading. As Proverbs 16:9 states We plan, He directs our steps, so let Him direct and re-diorect.  Don’t stubbornly refuse to adapt along the way.  Listen and obey.  (Read how God redirected Paul in Acts 16.)  If you have pride regarding your plans, I guarantee you, God will change your plans.
  5. Lastly, if it looks like the plan is crashing, hold tightly to Romans 8:28, trusting God to “cause all things to work together.”  But, make sure you are doing your part of that verse:  that you love God (proven by obeying His commands) and you are living for His purposes more than your own.

Trusting God to work His will in and through us,

Jeff Wilson

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