“There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel — that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).

IF WE THINK WE HAVE THE POWER TO ACCOMPLISH ALL OF OUR PLANS, WE ARE BEING NOT ONLY FOOLISH BUT ARROGANT. We may have our plans and purposes, and that is all well and good. But God also has purposes, and His are the only ones that are certain to be fulfilled. Our plans are always tentative; His, never.

There is nothing wrong with making plans, of course, and we surely ought to do so. Wisdom teaches us to look ahead, to whatever extent we can, and formulate both goals and strategies for reaching those goals. If we have no plans, we’re not the forward-looking, goal-striving beings we were intended to be. It’s hard to imagine how a person could “reach forward” without making a few plans for what he or she intended to do in life.

But there needs to be a healthy dose of humility mixed in with our plans. For one thing, the fulfillment of our plans depends on many factors that are, quite frankly, beyond our control. In many cases, our goals can’t be reached if other people don’t do certain things, and there is no way of knowing whether they will do them or not. But more important, the Lord may have plans that conflict with ours. He may have purposes the fulfillment of which require some adjustment in our intended path. It’s good to have an itinerary in mind as we journey through this world, but we’d better not have an itinerary that can’t be changed on short notice.

James said, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? . . . Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’ ” (James 4:13–15). If the Lord wills. That must be our guiding thought constantly.

But obviously, the wonderful truth is that whenever God says “No” to some plan or purpose we have made, it is always because He has something better in mind. It should be a joy to yield our plan to His purpose. So let’s hold on to our plans, if need be, but let’s hold them loosely. When we say, “Let’s do this,” and God says, “No, let’s do that,” then our love for Him will say, “Yes.”

“Man makes plans; God changes them” (Jewish Proverb).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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