“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Jeremiah was given a horrific message of destruction to deliver to God’s people, in consequence for their rebellion. But in the midst of the dreadful message came a hint of deliverance. Many of them would never live to see it, and none of it would be easy, but He made a way …through Christ. We each have a part to play in God’s plan to permeate the gospel from our neighborhoods to the far corners of the earth. God’s Word is a faithful lamp to guide us as we seek His plan for our lives.
What Does God's Plan Look Like for the World?
Though we continue to be a people that rebel against God and struggle with sin, salvation in Christ secures our eternal place in heaven. Jesus will return to earth to complete the restoration of God’s people and creation. Until then, our purpose is to tell people about Jesus verbally and visually by the way we live our lives. God’s love is life-saving, merciful, and compassionate. Through Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit lives in us, and His love flows through us.
What Does God's Plan Look Like for Me?
We’re all moving parts of God’s kingdom, bringing glory to Him through all we do. Full functioning in God’s plan feels like a personal conversation. He is faithful to lead us when we ask Him for direction. God’s plan for our lives is rooted in working hard with the gifts and talents He’s given us in order to meet the needs in our community and around the world.
How Do I Know if I'm Following God's Plan for Me?
Writer Star Walker poignantly observed that self-control, hard work, discipleship, and wisdom have a lot to do with the will of God in our lives. Daily time in prayer and in God’s Word direct us. Paul wrote to his mentee, Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
James wrote, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
God will meet us where we are, and place people purposefully to admonish and guide us. Praying and studying the following Scriptures, and others, will help to remind and encourage us God that has a plan.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Gratitude reflects our trust in God. He tells us to be thankful in order to right our perspective. “Our life in Christ isn’t something we can earn; it’s found in God’s grace. And for this we need to express gratitude daily.” We thank Him intentionally, for every blessing and burden because we trust His plan for our lives. He is faithful to hear and answer us, but His ways are not our ways. We may not understand a hard season until we can look back and see His hand all over it.
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepard of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, though Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
It is through Jesus we are equipped to do God’s will. His plan for our lives is accomplished, not by what we can do, but on the back of Christ’s sacrifice. “May he work in us what is pleasing to him,” reflects a submissive obedience to lay down our agenda for His. We are made to crave God’s presence and glorify His name. He calls us to seek peace in our everyday lives. These verses remind us we are also created to depend on God. “His purpose from the beginning and for all time is that all human beings would always be sheep in need of a Shepherd.” -John Piper
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
The pursuit of wisdom in an important part of God’s plan. We collect knowledge throughout our lives, in tandem with the alive and active Word of God. Revealed by the Holy Spirit through prayer, God makes personal connections to grow us in wisdom. Not a God of coincidence, He purposefully builds upon the foundation of salvation with each passing day. We can even look back and learn from our memories, set to the new light of wisdom and discernment we have attained in the current day, as we grow in our faith. “We won’t act as wisely as we could, if we are ignorant of relevant reality, or if we are undiscerning of the immediate dynamics of the situation or if we simply don’t have the resolve to act, because we are lazy or afraid.” John Piper
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
God’s ways exist to protect and uphold us. In ancient civilizations, regardless of their belief systems, simple standards like justice, mercy and humility were …and still are today …required for society to function properly. (NIVCBSB) It defines a proper relationship with God (NIVSB). God’s plan for our lives is humble, merciful, and just. To apply these characteristics to our daily lives, Veronica Neffinger advises:
- Pray for it.
- Support leaders who value it.
- Visualize your worst enemy at the cross.
- Read Luke with a highlighter.
- Weed out media that negatively affects the way you act.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
This verse mirrors Habakkuk 2:3-4, “but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.”Faithfulness and holiness are a big part of God’s plan for our lives, which reflect who we are becoming in Christ. The world encourages us to follow our hearts, but God wills the pursuit of holiness in our lives. “Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, ‘For this is the will of God- your holiness.’” (Daniel Hess) The original Greek word for perseverance in Hebrews 10:36 means steadfastness, constancy, and endurance. “The characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.” (Thayer and Smith)
The Spirit of God is given to us through salvation in Jesus Christ. The Spirit leads by revealing, interpreting, and re-calling the Truths of God.“God is the Father of all in the sense that he created all and his love and providential care are extended to all. But not all are his children …People become children of God through faith in God’s unique Son, and being led by God’s Spirit is the hallmark of this relationship.” (NIVSB) Working hard with our God-given gifts as we are led by the Spirit confirms our callings. “Doing something ‘by the Spirit’ means being ‘led’ to do it by the Spirit. He is not an instrument in our hands. We are an instrument in his hands. We are not leading him. He is leading us. He is not a mere responder to us. We are being moved and led by him.” (John Piper)
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27
The Greek word forthrough in the context of verse 26 infers the ground or reason by which something is or is not done.“To belong to Christ is to be a child of God with all the stupendous privileges implied in that relationship.”(John Piper)God’s plan in our lives is not constructed upon our strengths or by what we can accomplish, but by His strength and our faith to submit to it. The VOICE paraphrase beautifully states: “But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe-Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.”
Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. Psalm 86:11
Pastor Jonathan Parnell says, “An unfortunate side effect of repeatedly praying the same prayer is that, over a period of time, it can lose its sense of pertinence. One way to keep it fresh is to unpack the content with language that expresses what you mean in a new way.”He was speaking of the IOUS acronym written by John Piper in “When I Don’t Desire God.” The “U” stands for “Unite my heart to fear your name” from Psalm 86:11. When we pray verses like this over our lives His presence may unlock our next step.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us- whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15
The Voice paraphrase of these verses is prefaced with the heading, “The Reality, Not the Illusion.” Nowhere in this verse does it say if He hears us He might give us what we ask. Our confidence comes from His unchanging character, and His ability to keep His promises. We do not accomplish His plan and purpose in our lives on our own strength, but by His, alone.Andy Davissays, “Despite the value of this rich, full, continual contentment- and despite the fact that its possible for every Christian in the world to experience- this exquisite jewel is rare in our lives. And how desperately the unsaved world needs Christians to discover it.” Confidence in God blesses our lives with contentment.
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you- guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:14
Paul wrote this verse to Timothy, and it greatly concerned the plan God had for both of their lives. God has entrusted the gospel to us, each gifted differently by which we will glorify it in our lives. The Message paraphrase reads, “So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.” Christ charged us with the Great Commission, to spread the Gospel to all corners of the earth. What He wills, will be.
How You Can Trust God's Plan
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
It’s not going to be easy for us to trust God and follow Christ.“Each one of us has a life plan,” wrote Mary Southerland, “But the only plan that matters is the plan made for you by the One who formed you- the One who loves you, knows you and has set you apart to be His own. And it is a great plan!”The NET version of Proverbs 3:5-6 says to “acknowledge him in all you ways.” Submission and acknowledgement are expression of honor and humility. In a world telling us to follow our dreams, we must trade self-consumed plans with God-ordained purposes. God’s plans unfold in the daily steps of obedience in our lives.
Keep these ten verses close in proximity and prayer, and add to them the ones God has revealed to your heart. His love is unfailing, His plans immovable, and His strength unstoppable. Through Christ, we can do great things …impossible things. Whatever gifts we’ve been given, come with a God-purposed plan.
“Megs” writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. (https://sunnyand80.org) Meg is also a freelance writer and author of “Friends with Everyone.” She loves teaching God’s Word and leading her Monday morning Bible study, being a mom, distance running and photography. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Golden-Doodle … all avid Cleveland Browns fans.
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