A Man with a Plan

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Claims From James

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

-James 4:13-17

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about this excerpt from the book of James. In the passage James addresses business men who seek to follow their plans over God’s. These people that James describes have life mapped out, stuck to a strict plan, their plans take precedence over God’s. In his commentary on James Douglas Moo says “Instead of the self-confident, this-world-oriented attitude expressed in verse 13, the business people should qualify all of their plans and hopes with reference to the will of the Lord.” The plans of these men show not only independence from God, but dependence on their selves. James problem is not as much plans, as it is the root of making them. Instead of living a life where they were walking with God in the moment, these men were occupied with their selves and what may potentially come. The people here allowed the plans of their future to hurt their relationship with God in the present. Fellowship with God, had been forsaken for the fleeting time of this world. Zane Hodges says in his James commentary “They have plotted out a year’s program in without knowing what tomorrow itself may bring.” In this situation, it is not the planning that is bad, it is the loss of sight that matters, in that they do not realize how quick life could be over, their perspective was on what may happen, instead of what was happening. In this case the root of these guys plans was arrogance and pride, not God. These men had become consumed by their plans, forgetting what matters, in order to pursue what does not.

Bringing this passage to today,what does this reveal about the plans we make? When it comes to life, our goal should not be to have plans that are set in stone, but directions that can be flexible no matter which way they go. Moving through life, we have to involve God in the planning process, not just leave Him to the side. That means following the passions He has given us, allowing the abilities He has implanted to guide us, as we seek to live the Christian life. This means taking advice from other believers, praying, and acting on the basis of truth, whether spoken or in Scripture, not just going turbo and doing whatever the heck we want. If we are faithful to follow His directions, He will be faithful present His plan.

As my graduation approaches, questions regarding what I am going to do after graduating come with it. My answer, as it has always been when it comes to plans in life is, if I can get through today, that is good enough for me. The older I get the less value I see my plans, and the more value I see in His. Every long term plan I have ever made, has never come to fruition and I am okay with that. Where I am at is better than any plan I ever made. I have an idea of the direction I am going, but it is only as He guides me. While my plans may fail, His succeed.

Best Laid Plans of God Not Men

If your plans are not God’s plans, they are not good enough. Missions, ministry, marriage, or career, if your will does not align with God’s, what  is the point of it? Can all of these things be a result of following His plan? Yes, but they have to be just that, a result, and not the plan itself.  I am not knocking plans, plans when used properly are a good thing, what I am talking about is how we place our plans as the guiding source of our life, not God. How many times does our desire trump God’s when it comes to planning?  Our plans can be destructive, limiting our thinking to the finite, whereas His plans are constructive, enlightening our minds to the infinite. It is very much like the prodigal son. The prodigal son’s plans lead him to be content eating with pigs, yet all he had to do was follow his fathers plans for life to be so much better. The prodigal sons plan was to eat crap, whereas the fathers, was something much better. Here is a thought, God’s plan for our lives, is better than our plan for our lives. Basic, but often the basic truths are the ones we need reminded of most. Are we limiting God by sticking to our plans, dining with pigs even, or are the plans we make for His sake? The point is not about our plans, but our process in making them. Are we like the men in James whose plans distracted them for God’s, or are we in fellowship with Him, open to whatever He may have?

God the Builder

Whenever I meet someone who is in ministry, missions, or just a Christian living the Christian life, I often ask them “are you where you thought or planned you would be?” and out of those I have asked (a few hundred by now) only three have said yes. This is not to say do not make plans, but make them according to Him and the presence of Christ in your life, not yourself. God brings men down in their selves, to build them up again in Him. Did I ever imagine I would be in the middle of nowhere Iowa pursuing a Bible degree? No! And yet all the same here I am, and it is because I want to follow His plan for my life, not my own. If I had followed my plan I would be doing nothing more than living for myself, doing nothing, going nowhere. Let Him build you, let Him plan for you, and your life will be more fulfilling than had you tried to live on your own. I have no  idea what is next in life for me, and the more people ask the more I am reminded of this reality. What I do know is that wherever I go, whatever I do, if I pursue His plans, not mine, I will find something, somewhere, and it will be better than anything I could have found for myself. Is it always easy? No, but I have to trust that He has given me these skills and abilities for a reason, and intends on using them.That is my plan, if I can hold to that, and do so even somewhat well, that is enough of a plan for me.
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About Chronology of Chris

-In Christ -Student of Life, Theology, Philosophy and Education -Avid reader (C.S. Lewis, Alvin Plantinga, Francis Schaeffer, James Sire, Martin Luther, Luis de Molina, Gordon D. Fee, David R. Anderson, David Kinnaman, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Hunter S. Thompson, Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jean Paul Sartre, Soren Kierkegaard, etc.) -Amateur philosopher -Field researcher for this privilege called life -Defined not labelled -Silly, yet serious -Knowledgeable and experienced -People over facts( facts have their place), souls over figures -More than an "about me" box can contain -His will, not mine
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