As 2015 ends, and 2016 is about to being, folks are putting together resolutions and plans for the new year. But, have you ever considered what Godly planning looks like? As you make your New Years Resolutions, let’s consider a Godly formula for making plans.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF PLANNING… The Scriptures show us many folks planning, some good and others making evil plans…..
EVIL PLANS – The Psalmist said, “Who plan evil things in their hearts; They continually gather together for war. (NKJV) [Psalm 140:2]. Solomon warned his son not to go with those who plan evil, “If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood,” [Proverbs 1:11]. Jesus Himself told a parable of a man who planned fraud against his master [Luke 16:4 ].
Clearly, the scriptures condemn the making of evil plans, rather we should be making Godly plans….
GODLY PLANNING – Paul was planning to visit the church at Corinth to encourage them, “And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; 17 Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly?” (NKJV) [2Co 1:15]
When MOSES was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, he was working without much of a plan as he decided matters between one another. Jethro, his father-in-law, taught him a better way. “Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:” [Exodus 18:19]
DAVID faced Goliath with a plan. “This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” [1Samuel 17:46]. If you’ve ever wondered why David, a man of faith, needed 5 smooth stones, this is the reason, he needed one to kill Goliath and with the others he planned to route the Philistines!
There were others plans made as well. As men moved to fulfill commands of God to build the Temple, they made plans and set aside materials to ensure an expedient completion. [1Ch 22:1-19; 28:14-18; 29:1-5; 2Ch 3:1; 5:1]. Then Nehemiah also made plans as he oversaw the rebuilding of the Temple, after their return from the captivity. [Nehemiah 2:7, 8]
[Since God has ALLOWED MAN TO PLAN, ought you plan your life to serve Him?]
GODLY PLANNING FOR OUR LIVES – As we’ve seen, God has allowed and approved of man to make plans to serve Him. Looking at additional scripture, we find that planning is wise.
IT’S RIGHTEOUS TO PLAN – The book of Proverbs teaches us to make plans, by telling us to give thought to our steps, and that the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance. Included is a warning to those who fail to pause and plan that living impulsively only leads to poverty. [Proverbs 14:15; Proverbs 21:5]
Our Lord commended planning when He told how the wise count the cost before building a tower [Luke 14:28], or when a King goes to battle [v31, 32]. Let us never forget that obedience to Him is like the wise one who built his house on a rock [Matthew 7:24-27].
The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands [32:8 ESV]. Shall we not, as children of God, make noble plans? The question then becomes, what are noble plans and how do we make them?
Using scriptures, let’s look at a 7 step formula for making Godly, noble plans.
Step 1 – KEEP GOD’S WILL IN MIND – The first, and most important step is to begin with God’s plan / will. Before making any choice or plans ask yourself, “Is this what God would want?” We should always consider whether or not our plans are involving sin, if so, it no longer qualifies as noble.
Looking again to the Proverbs, “There are many devices (plans) in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” [Pr 19:21]. By committing our work to the Lord, our plans will be pleasing to the Lord [Prov 16:3].
“If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that,” ought to be our beginning attitude. [James 4:13-15]. Along with faithful obedience to the commands of God [Deuteronomy 28:1-68; John 14:15; Matthew 28:20].
Step 2 – SEEK WISE COUNSEL – “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed,” [Proverbs 15:22]. We need to seek advice, but seek it from the right sources.
We need to ask GOOD PEOPLE, folks that are already living a Godly life. “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils,” [1Corinthians 10:21; Ephesians 5:11]. Remember that Paul taught, “Evil company corrupts good habits,” [1Corinthians 15:33].
We should make plans by seeking advice, [Proverbs 20:18]. Even something like building a house, and filling it with our stuff, needs wise plans and advice or it will fail, [Proverbs 20:18; 24:3-4].
Sometimes NATURE provides us wise counsel. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest,” [Proverbs 6:6-8]. Job said to “ask the beasts” [Job 12:7], “and they shall teach thee.” God’s own creation can be a source of wisdom and counsel.
But God gives us a warning about FALSE INFORMATION. There are silly myths, false and selfish desires which cause us to seek teachers to tell us what we want to hear, [1 Timothy 4:7; Proverbs 19:2; 23:4; 2Timothy 4:3]. You’ve met those folks. They ask for advice but seldom take it, doing what they had intended from the beginning as they chase their own lusts.
Step 3 – SET THE RIGHT PRIORITIES, Sometimes we make nonsinful plans, but we’ve neglected other areas of our lives. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for this very thing. “..ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith:” Note that He wanted them to do the “WEIGHTIER MATTERS” but He also wanted them “not to leave the other undone” [Matthew 23:23].
Our first priorities are always to seek the kingdom of God, [Matthew 6:33], then the others things will be added to you. We also need to be mindful of giving, being benevolent, and taking care of our family’s needs [2Corinthians 9:7; 1Timothy 5:8]. If we seek our own selfish ambitions, we’re no longer making noble plans.
Step 4 is to PUT THINGS IN THE RIGHT ORDER, to do the things that are expedient to complete our plans. “.. get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house” [Proverbs 24:27 ESV]. We’re commanded our worship be done “decently and in order [1 Corinthians 14:40], should our lives, which is a service to God, be any less?
Step 5 is to DO IT, we need to get busy with our plans. Without work, no plans ever come to completion. When we work, let’s do it with all our might, [Ecclesiastes 9:10], without being slothful with our business [Romans 12:11], and to “do it heartily, as to the Lord” [Colossians 3:23]. God wants us to be active, not to be thieves, rather, “labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” [Ephesians 4:28].
Step 6 is to EVALUATE the successes or failures of our plans. Are you still doing the right thing? Has your work changed making it sinful? Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves, whether they be in the faith [1Cor 13:15], which must include our work activities as well as spiritual. If we stray away from the noble, Godly plans then let us bring ourselves back to the right.
Step 7 is to EXPECT TROUBLE and to prepare for it. This is a realistic view of life and many of us want to avoid or ignore trouble. Unfortunately, it is a part of life and the scriptures teach this. “time and chance happeneth to them all” [Ecc 9:11], is a reminder for us that things happen. Some good, and some bad. Look at the weather, God causes the rain on the just and the unjust, but sometimes floods come with the rain. [Matthew 5:45; 7:27] Consider the recent flooding in our own area.
Because of sin, and the broken world we live in because of sin, life is sometimes a struggle and we ought to expect it. We’re going to sweat, we’re going to get cut by thorns, but god has given us the strength to endure it. [Genesis 3:17, 18]
Even the people around us will sometimes be against us. Be it for jealousy or envy, they will be obstacles to our success [1Pe 4:4]. But don’t let the ungodly of this world, keep you from doing noble things.
CONCLUSION: With Godly planning, we can make the best of this world. God wants joy for us, but not just for this life. He has bigger and better plans. He has made a plan of SALVATION, which He made even before He created the world [Ephesians 1:4; Romans 16:25, 26; 1Peter 1:20].
His plans meant that His son, Christ Jesus, would be slain. This too was determined before the world was made [Revelation 13:8; Titus 1:2, 3].
His plans include for us to be a thinking people, [John 14:26]. His plans include for us to be obedient to Him [Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14; Matthew 28:20], to obey the Gospel [1 Thessalonians 1:8].
Finally, His plans include for us a FUTURE HOME which Jesus has gone to prepare [John 14:2]. A place that shall have no death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain and God shall wipe away all tears [Revelations 21:1].
We can make all the plans in the world, but if we fail to plan for eternity, we’ve lost it all. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” [1Peter 4:17]