Happy New Year! What are your plans for 2015? Spend more time with family and less time at work? Get healthy? Lose weight? Get a better job? Make more money?
If you look to the wisdom of the world about the importance of planning your life, you’ll see things like this:
- Planning gives you purpose
- Planning gives you direction
- Planning puts you in control
- Planning gives you power
- Planning gives you hope
- Planning gives you balance
- Planning gives you peace
- Planning gives you freedom
While those sound like good ideas for planning your life, think about this question for a few moments. What about God’s plans for your life? What does He have in mind for you to accomplish? Could it be that God’s plans for your life are better than what the world’s plans?
Most people think very little about God, if they think about Him at all. Even many Christians don’t spend much time thinking about God on a daily basis. Why is that? If we profess to believe in the existence of a God who created the universe, gave life to His creation and sustains all life by His power, how can we go about living life without thinking about Him throughout our days, weeks, months and years?
Look at these verses about God and planning and ask yourself how you relate to these truths.
“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.” Psalm 33:11
“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
“Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.” Romans 1:13
Accomplishing great things begins with great planning. That’s true for most people. 2015 is a new year with new challenges and new opportunities. How will you face those challenges? How will you meet those opportunities?
Study the Lives of Successful People
One of the most successful people in the pages of God’s Word is Joseph. What brought him success? Look at these verses and ask yourself how you relate to these truths.
“The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” Genesis 39:2
The Lord was “with” Joseph and he was successful. Isn’t the Lord “with” all Christians? Then, why aren’t all Christians successful? Good question. Some of the answer can be found in how Joseph lived his life. He faced every challenge and took every opportunity with the plan of God at the forefront of his mind.
The declaration about Joseph’s success in Genesis 39 was made while Joseph was a slave in Egypt and ‘before’ he was thrown in prison on false charges. How can anyone call that success? I’m afraid we Christians have lost sight of the true understanding of ‘success.’
Success as a Christian has nothing to do with succeeding in the ways of the world and everything to do with succeeding in the ways of God. Joseph was first successful in obeying God in every situation of his life. Even in prison the Bible records this about Joseph – “the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper” (Genesis 39:23). Joseph later became wildly successful in the eyes of the world because of his obedience to God and because it was God’s plan for Joseph’s life.
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ So he set him over all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 41:39-43
Will you become wildly successful in this world because you obey God? Maybe, maybe not. If that’s your goal, becoming successful in the ways of the world, you have already taken the wrong path. If you want to get a handle on how God wants you to live, read the words of Jesus in the Gospels again. He’s very clear about how He sees success.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” Matthew 16:24-27
If we can believe that what Jesus said is true, then we realize there is no profit in looking to the world’s ways for success. Success is following God’s plan for our lives, a plan that entails obedience and sacrifice.
How do we discover the specifics of God’s plan for our lives in 2015? Stay tuned!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.