When I was growing up I used to hear people talk about how to know God’s will for your life.
It’s a question to which we all want an answer.
Better yet… a direct message, email, a text from God would put us all on the right path. Or so we think.
I know that there are times when I’m perplexed with indecision and I wish for His “handwriting on the wall.”
God doesn’t work that way and even if we had a personalized life plan in our hands Fed-Exed directly to us from Him… we would still pick and choose what feels good to us. What?! I hate to admit it… but how many times have I known the “right” thing to do, but because it wasn’t comfortable or convenient, I just turned my head and went my own merry way.
You too? It stings, doesn’t it?
Are you someone who is striving to be organized, goal-oriented, or geared towards having a life-plan, or maybe a hope plan? (A hope plan is when you want a life-plan with specific goals but are still dreaming about the possibility, because it’s a good idea, but are stuck.)
I think most of us want a plan. We don’t want to wander through life aimlessly. We want a plan and a purpose.
We want to know God’s will for our lives so we can write the right life plan.
Here it is the end of January. There’s no doubt that many honorable people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions and plans for change. I get that. It’s not always about discipline, although getting up off the sofa when it’s below freezing to put feet to the snow-covered pavement requires discipline. I sometimes think that it’s because these plans do not really seem that important. Yes, they would better our lives, we might accomplish more, we might ____________ (you fill in the blank), but ultimately are they worth the effort?
I’ve come to the conclusion that the things that are worth the effort are bigger than we are.
That’s why, as we approach the second month of the New Year, I propose a new plan that is truly bigger than any of us.
It’s God’s plan.
And for those of you who are wondering what God’s will is for your life. This is it. Actually, this is just a part of it… but it’s a really good start….
God’s BIG plan for ______________ (your name) in 2017
- Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. (Not half-heartedly but 100%.) Matthew 22:37
- Love your neighbor as you love yourself. (Desire things to go as well for her as for you.) Matthew 22:39
- Do all things without grumbling (–in your head or in your speech.) Philippians 2:14
- Turn all your anxieties over to God. (So you are not weighed down by them anymore.) 1 Peter 5:7
- Season your speech with grace (–especially to those closest to you.) Ephesians 4:29
- Have a generous heart (–especially for the poor.) 2 Corinthians 9:7-15
- Redeem the time. (Make every minute count.) Ephesians 5:16
As I stated previously, this is NOT a comprehensive plan by any means.
However, it is God’s BIG plan and it definitely is a plan that’s bigger than either of us. Neither of us will be successful at hitting all seven of these without God’s help. Not for one hour, let alone one month or one year. We need to trust God to help us to fulfill this plan He has for us.
Don’t decide now that it’s impossible. This is God’s plan, so He WILL help you, He WILL equip you, He WILL give you the strength to persevere. Everything God has for us it better and bigger than we are. Scripture says His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
Expect some resistance. Some resistance will come from you… other times resistance will come from the prompting of the enemy. BUT GOD wants you to succeed.
When you slip, fall down, and fail… and you will… get up… then get down on your knees to repent and ask God to forgive you for your “infraction,” receive His forgiveness and start again. God is a God of our do-overs. His grace is limitless. We all will fail… the question is will we all repent and seek forgiveness so we can begin again?
God’s plan will be life-changing.
For YOU. And for every. single. person. you interact with on a daily basis. If you want to impact your world… if you want to be a world-changer… start with this plan… this year… beginning today.
Let’s take a look at the elements of God’s Plan…
Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37)
This is incredibly simple and yet every day will be a challenge. Every other time we blink, we exchange places with the Creator of the Universe and make ourselves the center of the universe. It’s one of the dumbest, most selfish things we can do, and yet we keep doing it. Plan. Purpose. to make God the center of your universe… to crave more and more of Him each day with every fiber of your being.
Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Matthew 22:39)
When we make ourselves the center of the universe we never give even a single thought to others. We’ve all noticed it and said, “She doesn’t think about anyone except herself.” In order to love our neighbors… we must begin by loving ourselves, acknowledge that we are God’s unique and beautiful creation… that He has plans for us… plans to prosper us… plans for a hope and future… that God loves us with an everlasting love. And in turn… we need to think of others as better than ourselves… to desire God’s best for him or her. We need to see each individual as God sees them, champion, encourage, embrace, and love each one.
Do all things without grumbling (Philippians 2:14)
How many times already today have you complained or grumbled about something? Have you noticed that when someone you’re with complains… you often begin complaining, too? It’s contagious. I remember when I was a child I would complain that I didn’t like what I was being served for lunch, having to go someplace I didn’t want to go, having to do the dishes, or grumbling that “everyone” else has new shoes, bikes, clothes, whatever… And my dad would respond by saying, “The complaint department is closed.” We have a loving heavenly Father that knows our every need, a Savior who has experienced every. singe. thing. common to mankind… and lovingly understands. My dad was wise to close the complaint department. Our grumbling serves NO GOOD purpose. Life is hard. Life is unfair. Get over it. Turn and replace the grumbles with gratitude. The gratitude department NEVER CLOSES and it breathes life into our weary souls.
Turn all your anxieties over to God (1 Peter 5:7)
This is a pretty firm directive from the One who knows and loves you best. We’ve been promised that God will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus told us that He counts every hair on our head, he knows what we need before we do, everything in heaven and on earth belongs to God, nothing takes place in our lives that does not pass through the filter of God’s loving hands. Bottomline… God wants us to trust HIM. Every day… ALL the time. He IS trustworthy and true. Hanging on to our worries and anxieties is fruitless. Oh, how happy we are when we release these to Him.
Season your speech with grace (Ephesians 4:29)
Words are powerful. Just last night my friend and I were discussing how we still are feeling the effects of our mothers’ words. Casually spoken words that have made us feel fat and ugly. Words we cannot shed all these years later. I think that’s why James tells us that we are to be quick to listen and slow to speak. We need to carefully measure our words. Words bring life or death. It’s so easy to criticize a family member when what they really need are words of love and affirmation.
Have a generous heart (2 Corinthians 9:7-15)
Generosity is a big deal to God. So much so that we can’t out-give God. When we’re generous we are blessed… a generous heart is a happy heart. And though God does bless us for giving, He is supremely blessed because the person who has benefited from our generosity gives glory to God. And ultimately that’s what it’s all about. All of this is God’s. We know that one day it will all be gone by death or the destruction of this world. The only things that will remain are the eternal things and generously giving for the care of others has eternal significance for sure.
Redeem the time (Ephesians 5:15-16)
One summer, Tim was going to Russia for 4 weeks. That was back at the beginning of email, I had just gotten an email account, and was told that I would be able to send him an email and receive one maybe once or twice during that long month. I was excited for him and the opportunity he had to make a difference in the lives of Russian teens through the youth camp he was leading. We were super busy leading up to his departure. That morning we got up, added a few last minute items to his bag and had a short time to just be together. We went for a drive along one of our favorite roads always filled with natural wonders to our practiced eyes. Our time was brief when it came to the clock, but to this day, we believe the clock stood still, God redeemed that time so that we could have all the time we needed together before our separation.
Time goes by too quickly. The decades click off at an incredibly fast pace. The older we get the more we become aware that time is precious. It’s so easy to get lost watching TV, reading books, shopping, and more. I’m not suggesting that any of these are bad. I’m suggesting that we become purposeful in how we spend our time. If you have a little shopping to do, invite a friend who may be lonely, and pour into her life with words of encouragement. If you feel too busy and stressed over all the things you have to do… take time to play with your kids. The stress will melt away and you just gave your life to little (maybe big!!) people who need YOU more than anything. I believe that when we purposefully give our time to making a difference in people’s lives in a direct way, God redeems our time. Trust Him to do that and do good.
How would your life be different if you followed God’s 7-Step Plan for your life?
What will you do to faithfully follow God’s plan for the next 11 months?
And time to get our joy meters soaring!
Please join me in thinking back over the past week and counting seven things for which you are thankful. This simple exercise of counting and giving thanks together in this space is something we do each week to reset our compasses and put our eyes back on the Lord.
Thank you, God for…
- this amazing plan You have for us to live fully and completely in YOU.
- our 6-year old neighbor boy who invited himself for dinner and loved it!
- a week with no more than a trace of snow.
- Your provision and a happy find of a large mixing bowl to complete the set.
- a very special breakfast with a new friend.
- answers to prayers.
- Your everlasting love.
Now…it’s YOUR turn!
List your ‘seven’ in the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts’ section below. You’ll be glad you did.
Thank you for stopping by and leaving your sweet thoughts.
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