Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps”
Jeremiah 29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart”
There is a saying that goes like this, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Thus, planning is an essential element to any successful business; however, even a good plan can go bad. The executives at the DuPont Corporation learned that lesson the hard way with a product called Corfam that was introduced in the early 90’s. Corfam was a leather substitute that DuPont believed would capture big profits in the shoe industry.
After sinking millions of dollars into a product development and marketing strategy, they became quite aware that the public wasn’t nearly ready to purchase this leather substitute. Moreover, to avoid any further losses and to recover some of its investment, DuPont sold Corfam to another company. However, shortly after unloading Corfam, rising prices in leather made it a really hot item.
My brethren, the Bible tells us God has plans for every individual (Jeremiah 29:11). It’s the Lord’s plan that dictates how our past affects our present, our future, and us. A solid plan is one based on the guidance of the Spirit and the teachings of God’s Eternal Word. We must make plans for our future, but we must also be flexible and faithful to what God dictates for us.
James reminds us that life’s unpredictability is one good reason not to put too much stock in our plans (James 4:14-15). The reality is that we have no way of predicting what a day may bring forth. The truth is that no one can be sure they will wake up on the next day to carry out their carefully laid out plans. By way of illustration, I submit to you the following individuals who had made plans:
(1) On the morning of November 22, 1963 President Kennedy was given a Shady Oak Western hat at a breakfast sponsored by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Some of the press photographers wanted him to try it on so that they could take a picture of him in it. President Kennedy grinned at them and said that he’d be glad to pose in it, “If you come to the White House Monday morning.” But he never made it back to the White House alive. He was killed in Dallas later that day.
(2) On Saturday August 30, 1997, Diana, the Princess of Wales arrived in Paris for what she thought would be a pleasant visit. She was on her way to London and had plans to fly there the next day. She spent some time at the Ritz Hotel and shortly after midnight she got into a car for a short trip to a nearby apartment. But she never made it to the apartment. She was killed in a tragic car accident in a Paris tunnel.
(3) On the morning of September 11, 2001 almost 3,000 people went to their jobs in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, fire and police stations. All of them had plans for that afternoon, evening, the coming weeks. However, their plans were all in vain. They were tragically killed in the terrorist attacks.
Instead, James points us to a course of action that follows God’s master plan and not business trends. James said that we must submit our goals to God (4:13-17), value people more than money (5:1-6), and patiently wait for our spiritual investments to be rewarded (5:7-9). Generally speaking, the world’s view of success would be:
(1) Make all the money you can.
(2) Exert the least amount of effort in doing so.
(3) Acquire the most of the world’s goods as possible.
(4) By spending the least money as possible.
My brethren, as believers in Christ we can certainly plan; however, God should be the One that is directing our steps. It’s so true we can plan all we want but ultimately God makes the decisions and His plan is always perfect. Are you open to God’s perfect plan? Or are you trying to do it all on your own, laying out your own blueprint, following your own path, never thinking of God’s prodding or plotting, maneuvering or miracle working? If so, consider the following points concerning your plans:
(1) Using the tool created by the One who has already planned your steps … the Bible.
(2) Stop listening to the world and listen to God’s voice instead, spending time alone with Him, and reading His Word. This helps you refocus on Him and listen better. So, how does He speak to you? For me, sometimes it’s a verse that just leaps out while I’m reading the Bible. Other times it’s something someone else says. Many times it’s just a small still voice.
(3) Spending time with God … pray for continued guidance in that He will reveal His plans for you in His time. Then set aside time each day to hear what He has to say.
However, when God speaks you will probably hear Him more clearly when you start obeying His leading. Not sure if something on your mind comes from God, or if it’s your own idea? Test it by taking the next logical step (as long as it’s not something condemned by God and His Word). If doors continue to open for you, it could be God’s leading. One day we all will stand before the Lord. The only plans that will prove to have been successful will be those that reveal how much we wanted to please our Lord, Jesus Christ.
(1) What are you planning to do today, tomorrow or next month?
(2) Where does God fit into your plans?
(3) Always remember the best of any plans begin and end with God!
(4) God’s plan for your life isn’t as complicated as you may think. His will for His children is mainly to walk in obedience unto His Word, grow in grace, in knowledge of the Scripture and live upright before His face. In short, grow into maturity and in righteousness through Christ Jesus, by putting the Word of God first in your life.
Remember, guidance from above is promised to all who will accept God’s Word and follow His plans.