On Sunday, September 8, our Lead Pastor, Nic talked about embracing God’s will for our lives, whether we were on plan A, B, X, or far past the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. With each new plan comes new terms, but the same goal of following God in that plan. How do we know what God’s plan is for our lives and if we are living out His plan or our own?
- REFLECT: Not just once, but regularly. In Psalm 139:23-24, the Psalmist cries out to God: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” We should do the same. Where is my heart in this moment? Am I seeking to live for God, or myself? If I think I am following God, what is the evidence of that?
- REPENT: There’s no doubt that each of us, after reflecting on the state of our hearts, will discover some sort of ugliness of which to repent. Our hearts are bent toward straying from God’s will and living according to our own sinful will. We need to turn away from our sin and turn back to God, whether we have taken one step off of the path or have sprinted away from it. Manasseh was a king of Judah who “did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites” (2 Chronicles 33:2). God punished him for this, which brought Manasseh to repentance. Manasseh cried out to God in humility, and “the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13). When we repent, God forgives fully. He restores, not always in ways we expect, but in ways that are always good. New plans are not second best; they are brand new. They bring with them full potential to follow God without living in shame of our past.
- PRAY: Whether we feel confident or unsure in God’s plan for our lives, prayer is a necessity. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2). We need to consistently pray for the Spirit to work in and through us as we live out God’s plan, but we must do so watchfully and thankfully. Watchfulness enables us to see how God is leading and to follow him. Thankfulness is a choice. It is our response when we truly embrace God’s plan for our lives.
- ACT: Regardless of what plan we’re on, and even when we feel like there is no plan, we must remain active. It is tempting when we are confused about God’s plan to stop and wait until He conspicuously reveals it to us. However, Paul writes in Romans 12:11: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” We need to continually seek Him and reach out to others even in the unknown. He is with us as we actively seek Him, leading us one step at a time. If you feel unsure of where to start, find something you are passionate about and find a way to use it for God’s kingdom. We just need to start somewhere.
Ultimately, it’s not a plan we need most. It’s Him we need most. God made us to seek Him in every step of our plans. It’s not about the plan, particularly. We can be used by him in every situation because the gospel is relevant in every situation. The plans he gives us are just tools to help us live out the bigger picture of God’s will: That those who are lost would be saved, that His creation would return to their Creator, that we’d remember who we are and to Whom we belong. His plans for His people are a means for us to seek Him continually.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:11-14
By Jill Reasa