Plans and Purposes
<<strategies and intentions>>
Preparing, by knowing as many of the facts and contributing influences as possible, thinking ahead, setting goals, praying and trusting God are vitally important to the successful outcome of any undertaking for the “plans of the diligent lead to profit” (Prov 21:5; Lk 14:28-30).
God’s master plan
God has made us for an eternal purpose, which begins here on earth and will continue throughout eternity for “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will...for the praise of His glory” (2 Cor 5:5; Eph 1:5,9,11,12, 3:11; 2 Tim 1:9). The eternal purpose of God creating humanity was that we have fellowship with Him. Adam failed to live up to his divine purpose of being guided by the Holy Spirit to serve God and others using the resources of earth to God’s glory. In contrast, God called David, “A man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” and although he sinned greatly, he repented and it is recorded, “David…served God’s purpose in his own generation…” (Act 13:22,36).
God in His all-knowing capability (omniscience) was aware before He ever created mankind, that humanity would rebel against Him. This act of freewill subverted by Satan and resulting in sin never took Him by surprise. His plan to restore humans to the role He intended, those who would choose to obey Him (rather than robots, doing what they are programmed to do) swung into action. This included Jesus coming to deal with the sin issue (which God declared the penalty for was death), destroying the devil’s work and bring us back into right relationship with God (Ezek 18:4,20; Jn 6:38; Rom 6:23; 1 Pet 3:18; 1 Jn 3:8). It was God’s purpose that Jesus die for us. “They [those who crucified Him] did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen (Act 2:23, 4:28). Does my heart overflow with gratitude to Jesus for rescuing me from eternal damnation and bringing me into God's Kingdom (Col 1:13).
Include God on your planning committee!
1 Cor 6:20, 10:31; Gal 4:19, 5:22,23; Rev 4:11). He works through redeemed people who choose to praise Him and “Bear fruit in every good work” (Col 1:9,10; Heb 13:15).
Characteristics of His plans
1/. “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever…He watches over His Word to ensure it performs and accomplishes what He intends…He works in you to fulfill His good purpose…They all come to pass” (Ps 33:11; Isa 46:10,11; Jer 1:12). The Lord declared, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand" (Isa 14:24). “The Lord outworks everything for His own ends” yet with our limited understanding we can't comprehend His methods in the short-term (Prov 16:4, 19:21; Rom 11:33). Many times it is only when we look back we understand His awesome guidance working in our situations, that we were unaware of when in the heat of the battle. This is the sovereignty (absolute right) and providence (divine intervention) of God being outworked in our lives. He sees the overall perspective and has brought us to such a time and place as this (Est 4:14; Jn 18:37). He requires obedient co-operation from us. He wants us to choose His way rather than our own selfish sinful pathway (Mt 7:13,14). Seek the Lord then act, seizing the opportunity to be a blessing to others, keeping motivated, focused and on target. His plans and ways are not ours, they are so much higher than what we can imagine so it is our responsibility to be attentive and obedient to His voice “understanding what the will of God is as He works out everything in conformity to His plans” (Isa 55:8,9; 1 Cor 2:9; Eph 1:11, 5:17). Declare confidently, “I know that you can do all things, nothing you plan will be prevented” for God’s Word will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sends it (Job 42:2; Isa 55:11). What Joseph’s brothers had intended for evil God turned around for good, for it was under this former slave’s authority that a successful plan was implemented that prevented multitudes from starving to death (Gen 41:28-36, 45:5-8, 50:20). God is never caught out – He is the master strategist.
2/. God even uses those opposed to Him, such as Pharaoh, to outwork His purposes (Rom 9:17,18,21). Satan is totally opposed to everything of God and aims to diminish or destroy our potential and tries to get us to believe God has cheated us out of something, as he did when he tempted Adam and Eve (Gen 3:1-4).
Go with His plans, they are the best
(Josh 5:14; Jer 29:11; Ps 20:4; Prov 16:3; Rom 8:14,28). Normally there is an ongoing revealing – as one step is taken, the next is indicated, so if we stop progressing, the revelation also stops. Many times God’s plans take a long period to eventuate as they did with Joseph, so use the waiting period to be better prepared for its fulfillment, upskilling yet exercising patience not to move ahead of His timing (Hab 2:3). Abraham took matters into his own hands but this was a disaster when he had a son by a servant girl (Gen 16:2).
4/. The outworking of God’s overall purpose for us is individually designed, with each having a unique calling. Just as our bodies are comprised of various different parts, each with a different function, yet interconnected for the overall good, so we are united in the body of Christ for the common purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God (1 Cor 3:8, 12:12-30; Phil 2:2). Nothing is wasted in God's economy but is used to bring Him glory, blessing to others and the enrichment of our lives if we accept and respond with a godly attitude to the challenges and experiences we face.
Good planning practicesIn the major areas of life, do not act quickly or make emotional decisions, instead pray, seek guidance from God and advice from other mature Christians – “Make plans by seeking advice”
Find and fulfill your purpose in God’s Kingdom
issues. Knowing the divine reason or purpose for our life gives meaning and motivation, besides simplifying it – as this determines what will help or hinder us achieving that goal. As we focus intentionally we can be more productive and make eternal Kingdom choices.
Proper prior planning prevents poor performance
possible problems and formulate plans to deal with them if they eventuate. Be flexible and adaptable as seldom do things work out as quickly or easily as envisaged yet the overall goal remains consistent so submit your intentions to God, as the final decision is in His hands (Prov 19:21; Jas 4:13-15).
We are privileged to be invited to partner with Him; it is His overall purposes that prevail for He is sovereign and nothing can prevent them coming to pass. Am I devoted in obedience to God, knowing and endeavouring to achieve His specific purpose for my life, confident He will fulfill His purpose for me or am I doing just what seems best, running aimlessly, maybe even just drifting through life and trying to be a carbon copy of someone else? (Jdg 17:6; Ps 57:2, 138:8; Prov 21:2; 1 Cor 9:26).
If you can’t find your purpose, clarify your passion as this will lead you to it. Understand the brevity of life, your responsibility to the Saviour and humanity besides the eternal repercussions, for while intentions are good, to be of value they must be undertaken. As the greatest use of a life is to spend it for something that will outlast it, realign your life with the purpose and calling of God. “Here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty [purpose] of man” (Eccl 12:13). Jesus expressed it as loving God with our whole being and our neighbour as ourselves (Mk 12:30,31).
God + plan + persistent action = success
using the talents we have been entrusted with to advance His Kingdom on earth, doing what He would do, outworking what Christ died on the cross to gain for us (Eccl 8:6; Ps 37:5; Mt 25:14-30, 28:18-20; Jn 14:12).
Paul said he was constantly pressing on to greater things in God, to fulfil his divinely given mission (Act 20:24; Phil 3:12-14). Am I that dedicated to God’s purpose?
Jesus was able to say about Himself, “I have completed the work you gave me to do” (Jn 17:4). He said this even before the final events of His earthly life were outworked as He was fully committed to fulfilling it, humanity just had to complete the crucifixion. Will God be able to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant you have done my will” (Mt 25:21,23)?
See also: action/activity, call/calling, choice, decisions, determined, diligent, dreams, freewill, goals, God’s will, guidance (divine), motive/motivation, passion, preparation, proactive, providence, solutions, sovereignty of God, submission, vision.