Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
Key Statement: Our plans must be born out of a desire to please God and to accomplish His purposes.
To survive in any business environment today without planning is almost impossible. Analyzing information, arranging data, and forecasting trends are all part of developing a coherent strategy. Past records, present circumstances, and future assumptions are the vital ingredients of the planning process.
PLANNING IN THE BIBLE
As Christians, it is the future that often troubles us when we are formulating plans. Since the future is in God’s hands, aren’t we being presumptuous to tread on His turf? Aren’t we trifling with His sovereignty?
The resounding biblical response is “NO!” After all, from the lush garden of Adam to the rocky shores of John’s Patmos, the Bible itself is a divine plan of redemption and salvation. The recording of the Scriptures is the unfolding of that eternal design.
The very lives of major biblical characters reflect the planning process.
The apostle Paul was given a grand goal-to peach the gospel to the Gentiles. How could he accomplish such a staggering mission? Paul did so by putting together a superlative plan for evangelizing the cosmopolitan cities of his day-Corinth, Thessalonica, Ephesus-and then returning later for follow-up discipleship.
After interpreting Pharaoh’s troubling dreams, Joseph masterminded an innovative agricultural policy that extended for fourteen years. He thus prevented the death and starvation of millions of Middle East residents.
Our plans must be born out of a desire to please God and to accomplish His purposes.
SUBMIT YOUR PLANS TO GOD
The Scripture passage that elicits the most confusion for the Christian regarding planning is James 4:13-15: “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye [ought] to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
Notice that James doesn’t imply that we shouldn’t plan. What he does say is that we should plan with the overriding understanding that it is God who is in control, not we. His will is preeminent. Our plans must be submitted to His sovereignty. He will not do what we should do ourselves (plan), and we cannot do what only He can (oversee our plans). We are in a divine partnership with God, but He has the ruling interest.
Numerous scriptures verify that arrangement. “[There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (Proverbs 19:21). “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, [is] from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:1).
Planning is the means by which we express our confidence and faith in a loving and faithful God. Our plans must be born out of a desire to please God and to accomplish His purposes
As the believer seeks God’s counsel and then ventures out in faith, it is with great excitement that he or she can exclaim,
“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3).
FOR FURTHER INSIGHTS:
Read Psalm 52
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.