I’m going to use one of the most over said statements in Christian circles.
God has a plan for you.
I know a lot of people hate hearing this, because they seem to immediately think we are saying God is going to make your life easy, or everything will be perfect and peachy when we follow Christ, because He has a plan. We tell this to a lot of people when sharing the Gospel, we tell them the verse about how He has a plan for us, not to harm us, but to give us a future. And really, this statement is very misused. First of all, if you are not saved, you aren’t going to see His plan because you can’t hear Him. You don’t know where He’s leading you because outside of salvation, He can’t lead you anywhere. Second of all, when we tell this to lost souls, we put them in danger of having a false conversion. They come to Christ because they think He has this great and easy plan for their lives and they want to cash in on this. We’ve twisted the Gospel and made it to where it seems like it’s this route to success and blessings all the time, and then they realize very quickly that…hey, this isn’t all sunshine and roses. God isn’t giving them perfect success. They aren’t getting rich like Joel Olsteen or having constant blessings showered upon them. Yes, the Christian life is a wonderful life. The best life. And we have been given the best gift of all – salvation. We are free from an eternity in Hell. And while our lives can get difficult, like we talked about in my post He Watches Me, we have peace knowing that He is always present even in the midst of our troubles. He is protecting us, guiding us, loving us. And while His plan isn’t always as easy as we’d like, His plan is the best plan. And it’s difficult to remember this, it’s hard to remember how amazing His plan will be when it is finished, when our work is done. It is hard to remember that our rewards will be greater than our suffering in this world, and therefore…it gets difficult to accept His plans. Sometimes, if you’re like me, you want to slap people upside the head when you’re having a hard time and all they can say is, “God has a plan!” You know this, but at the time, it really doesn’t seem to help, does it? But He does. God does have a plan.
And here’s the coolest part of it all – He has a specific plan for you. While He may call your friend from church to a mission field in Africa, He may be calling you to a mission field right in your state. In your circle of friends. In your church. While He is calling me to write these posts, He could be calling you to go start a women’s ministry. He may be calling you to teach a Sunday school class and work with children. He may be calling you to a life of sacred singleness, or a life as a homemaker. Men, He may call you to preach behind a pulpit, or He may call you to preach on the streets. Or both! God saved you for a reason, and not just because He is a loving and forgiving God (Although that is certainly a huge reason!) He saved you and He has a job for you. So what are we doing to find out what He’s saying? Are we even trying to listen at all?
I believe there are steps that we must take in order to find out what His plan for us is, and I’d like to talk to y’all about a few of those steps, though certainly not all of them, for a few moments tonight.
1.) Acknowledge the fact that He knows exactly who you are, and where you should be.
There’s something that I was told as a young child that has stuck with me to this very day; God knows exactly how many hairs that are on my head. As a child, this was heart warming to hear. How does God, who created this world and everything in it, know how many hairs are on my head? Because He knows me. He loves me. He wants me. There is a beautiful Psalm about this…
When we consider everything that He has done, everything that He has created; the stars, the moon, the sun, the clouds, the ocean, the mountains…everything that is good, everything that is beautiful, He created with His voice. With His hands. This incredible, powerful God created this whole world, and He is very busy indeed, even now. He has already created the world, but He is still busy creating beautiful things. He is still answering prayer, He is still saving souls…yet He has time to know me, to think about me, to count the hairs on my head, to know my heart, my thoughts. It’s an incredible and very humbling thought. God has a unique plan for every human being and it is up to us to decide if we want those plans to come to fruition. It is up to us to make the decision to follow Christ through everything and to give up our old lives to become a new creature in Him. He knows us, and He does have a specific plan in mind. When we realize that He acknowledges us, He knows what makes us unique, special, He knows what makes us fired up, He knows what confuses us, what frustrates us, He knows our passions, our likes, our dislikes…it becomes easier to see that He is completely prepared to show us our path. He already has an idea in mind. We don’t have to worry about God, or if He’s capable of making the right decision for us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He is capable.
2.) Acknowledge the fact that we can’t do it on our own.
We may have wonderful plans for our lives but God is the only one who can open certain doors. If you truly want to live a life for God and do what He would like for you to do, if you truly want to make a difference and spread the Gospel, we have to go His way. Our way is not going to work. We can not make a difference on our own, at least not a good one. He is the only way, He is light to our path. We can’t do this on our own. We can’t save souls. We can’t even plant a seed without His assistance. This life is hard, the Christian life is hard, and unless we learn to rely on Him and let Him lead the way, we’re going to take one step through the door and run back to the world and our old, sinful comforts with our tails between our legs like weaklings.
We are weaklings. That’s why scripture tells us that He is our strength. Persecution will arise, and we can’t defeat our enemies without Him behind us. Trials will come, and we won’t be able to get past them without God on our side. We’ll be running so quickly towards the door that we think is right, and it’s going to shut just when we get there, right on our faces. We’re going to slip and slide, we’re going to fall. God has to pick us up and take us on the right path so we don’t destroy ourselves. If we try to go our own way without God, the temptations will destroy us. We’re too weak for this. God has to be our strength and our help in times of struggle. Our refuge.
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
3.) Acknowledge the fact that we owe a great debt.
I recently wrote a post about the greatest debt we owe, inspired by a message given by Pastor Clarence Sexton at Temple Baptist Church in Tennessee. That message convicted me and it still lays very heavily on my heart. Christians, we owe a great debt. To God. To lost souls. God has a plan for our lives and we need to be doing everything we can to make sure we are following Him so that souls can be saved. God wants souls to be saved, God wants His people to come to Him. He wants His children to be with Him, and we know what is coming. We know what happens when we remain lost. We know what the end result of sin is. So let us go out and follow His plan for us so that souls can be saved from eternal damnation. What are we doing to stop it? What are we doing to see people come to Christ Jesus? When we refuse to follow God’s plan for our lives and don’t even try to listen and find out what it is, souls are being lost by the minute. Now, don’t think that God needs you or that He is desperate for your help; He is powerful, He is the only one capable of saving souls. But you have the ability to touch people personally with your story, with your journey. Why are we not doing this?
Philippians 2:15 – That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
God has a unique plan for us, but He also intends for every Christian to be a light. Let us stop hiding our light! Pay your debt- Christ paid it all for you.
4.) Acknowledge that we can’t follow Him and cling to the world at the same time.
Repentance. It has become somewhat of a dirty word in modern day “Christianity” has it not? And so has the gospel. So has Hell. So has judgement. Basically, anything that involves repentance, rebuking, or righteous judgement is a dirty topic because we do not want to change. We’re happy, we’re comfortable, we like our sin. We like our lives. We like the idea of having Jesus, having His love and grace in our lives…but let’s face it, we don’t want to change anything in order to have it. We don’t want to pay that debt off. We like thinking that He paid it all on Calvary (and He did! We could NEVER even try to be worthy of that.) and since we can’t ever be truly worthy, we might as well sit and enjoy our sin. But as the Bible tells us, grace is not an excuse to sin! It is amazing to have grace in our lives, but that does not mean that we can go on and sin. God demands repentance. We can not follow His holy path when we are living sinfully! We can not take a step towards Christ and His righteousness when we are so weighed down by sinful baggage. It is far too heavy for us to bear, that is why we must lay it down at Jesus’ feet and surrender all to Him.
Ezekiel 18:21-23 – But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
The wages of sin is death, and we need to let go of the things that lead us to death if we want Him to lead us into everlasting life. Why do we think that God will work in our lives if we refuse to do a little cleaning up for Him? He’s willing to wash us. He is always willing. But we have to be willing to let go and let God. Are you willing?
Of course, there are a lot of other steps to take in order to find out where He is leading, but these are the steps that have been on my heart. I’d love to know, how is He working on your life? Can you think of any other important steps?