YOUR FAVORITE VERSE
DOES GOD HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE?
God had a plan for Noah’s life. Noah was to build the ark to save himself and his family. Mankind had become so wicked and sinful that God was going to wipe man from the face of the earth, except for Noah & his family. Noah’s life was pleasing to God. God’s plan for Noah’s life was to use Noah to start over with the human race.
God had a plan for Abraham’s life. Abraham was to become the father of a great nation, the nation of Israel.
God had a plan for Moses’ life. Moses would become the spiritual leader of Israel. He would deliver God’s people out of Egypt. He would deliver God’s law to the people. He would lead the nation through the wilderness to the brink of the Promised Land. That was God’s plan for Moses.
God had a plan for the life of John the Baptist. John would be the forerunner of Christ. John would be Jesus’ advance man. John would prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.
God had a plan for the life of Jesus. Jesus would come to earth to be our Savior. He would die for our sins in order to save us from our sins.
We can see that God has always had a plan for the lives of His people. So, does God have a plan for your life?
Yes, God has a plan for your life! Read Jeremiah 29:11.
Here God states that He has a plan for your life. That much is sure. The X-factor is our response to God’s plan for our lives. How we respond will determine whether we find out God’s plan for our lives and whether it gets fulfilled in our lives.
So today’s message will center on how we need to respond to God’s plan for our lives. The first thing you need to do in order to respond to God’s plan for your life is to…..
Accepting God’s plan begins by believing that God has a plan for your life. It starts by believing what God has said in Jeremiah 29:11 that He does indeed have a plan for your life!
Isn’t it exciting to realize that God does indeed have a plan for your life? And that His plan includes how He wants to bless you and how He wants to use your life for His glory?
Once we believe that God definitely has a plan for our lives, the next thing we need to do to accept His plan is to embrace it and submit to it.
One crossroads that each of us comes to in our lives is this decision. Am I going to follow God’s plan for my life or am I going to follow my own plan? That’s an important decision because God’s plan for your life may be different from your plan for your life. Look at Proverbs 19:21 with me:
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21
You may have a lot of plans for what you want to do in life and with your life, but bottom line, the one thing that matters most is what God wants you to do with your life. So the question is, will you be willing to follow God’s plan for your life even if it ends up being different from the plans you have made?
We need to be willing to do so because God’s plans endure. Psalms 33:11 declares:
“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” – Psalms 33:11
Haven’t you had some plans that you have made that have fallen through? Perhaps you had a plan, a dream for your life that just didn’t work out. It’s like that tee shirt I told you I saw once- “this is not the life I ordered.”
Maybe the reason why your plans fell through is because they weren’t God’s plan for your life. And the reason why you need to follow God’s plan for your life is that God’s plan won’t fall through. His plans stand firm forever.
Another reason why we need to be willing to submit to God’s plan for our lives is that God’s plan is always better than any plans we may have.
When the apostle Paul first became a Christian, he decided that he wanted to go preach to the Jews. That would seem to make sense. After all, Paul was a Jew. Paul had been a Pharisee, a Jewish religious leader. No one understood the Jewish people better than Paul. So it would seem logical that Paul would be the apostle best suited to reach his fellow Jews. But Paul was not well-received by the Jews. They rejected his message and sought to kill him.
God’s plan was for Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles. God’s plan worked out well. Paul wrote most of the New Testament. He planted numerous churches. He was the greatest missionary the world has ever seen.
God’s plan for Paul was better than Paul’s plan for Paul.
I played the cornet in my high school band. I loved music. My plan was to be a high school band director. But God had a different plan for my life. He wanted me to be a preacher. I’m glad that I listened to God and followed His plan for my life. It was a much better plan than the one I had mapped out.
Now I don’t mean to suggest to you that God’s plan for your life will require you to become a preacher, youth minister or missionary. It might. But the point is that many times, God’s plan for our lives is different than the plans we make. And God’s plan is always better than our plans.
And we need to be willing to follow God’s plan for our lives. We need to make that commitment. I think that’s the real meaning of this verse:
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
– Proverbs 16:3
Some people would look at this verse and think they have Carte Blanche for whatever they want to do. So they make their plans and simply ask God to rubberstamp their plans. And their prayers end up being self-serving-“God please do for me what I want to do. Make my dreams comes true. Say yes to my plans and my goals.” They want God to be their “Yes God”.
But I think that a part of committing to the Lord whatever you do is to present your plans to God within the context of His plan for you. In other words, present your plans to see if they meet with His approval- “God, here is what I want to do with my life. Please show me if my plans are in sync with your plans. And if your plan is different from my plan, then show me your plan and help me to follow it.” That’s a prayer that pleases God and one that He will honor.
When I commit my plans to God within the context of His plan for me and I am willing to follow His plan and His plan becomes my plan, then my plans will succeed.
The next thing you need to do in response to God’s plan for your life is to….
You ought to take comfort in the fact that God knows the plans He has for you. You may not right now understand His plan for your life, but you can be confidence that God knows what His plan for your life is and He is working His plan on your behalf.
You need to trust God’s plan and God’s knowledge because He knows better than you do what direction your life should take. Proverbs 3:5-6 could be a life verse for each of us:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Years ago there was a tv show entitled, “Father Knows Best” and the idea behind the show, I guess, is that the Dad had all the answers.
We need to get to the point in our walk with God where we trust that Our Heavenly Father knows best what is good for us. We need to trust that our Heavenly Father knows best when it comes to the plan for our lives. We can’t lean on our own understanding…our own plans. We have to acknowledge that God knows the plans that are best for us.
His plans for us are best because His plans are to prosper us. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean financial prosperity and in most cases, it probably won’t be. This just means that God’s plans include the blessings He brings into our lives, whatever those blessings may be. He has good plans for us.
And God has promised that His plans will not bring any harm to us. And this is where the trust factor comes into play. Even though God’s plan for us is good, sometimes life is bad to us.
God’s promise that He has good plans for us doesn’t mean that we will be spared pain, suffering or hardship along the way. What God says in Jeremiah 29:11 was originally spoken to the Jewish people being held in captivity under the Babylonian Empire. They were enduring hardship. But God promised them that he knew the plans he had for them, plans to prosper them. And eventually that came true, as they were freed and allowed to return to Jerusalem.
Even though God promises to bring good into our lives, sometimes bad things do happen to us. But that doesn’t mean that God caused those bad things to happen. God is the author of good, not evil. James wrote:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17
God only gives good gifts and He only brings good into our lives. Bad things happen as a result of living in a world gone wrong and corrupted by sin.
But even then, God can bring good out of the bad. That is the promise of Romans 8:28:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Joseph is a classic example of God bringing good out of bad. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. He ended up in Egypt. He was thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. Over time it seemed like Joseph is a forgotten man, rotting away in a prison cell in a foreign land.
But through a series of events, God brought Joseph out of the dungeon and into Pharaoh’s palace. Pharaoh was so pleased with Joseph that he installs Joseph as Prime Minister.
Joseph became the second most powerful man in the world. He was in position to help his family when his brothers came to Egypt seeking food during a famine. Even though Joseph’s brothers sought to harm Joseph, God turned it into good.
If you are going through difficulty right now, keep trusting in God and His good plan for your life. He will bring about something good for you out of the bad circumstances you find yourself in.
The final chapters of your life have not been written yet. Keep on trusting in God’s plan for your life.
Now the final and ultimate response to God’s plan for your life is to…
We should want to follow the plans God has for us because His plans give us 2 important things we need to survive and thrive- hope and a future, specifically the hope of a better future.
The hope of a better future- a return to Jerusalem, was what the people of Judah needed as they were living under Babylonian captivity. And the hope of a brighter future is what you need as you endure darker days right now.
We ought to take comfort in God’s promise that His plans for us include the hope of a better time ahead. We need this hope because, oftentimes, to us, the future seems so uncertain. We have fears about the future.
The future to you may seem uncertain financially. Your job may have an uncertain future right now. You doubt if you’ll be able to go to college. Retirement may seem very uncertain to you right now. Will I be able to retire? Will Social Security and Medicare be around when I retire?
There are a lot of things we don’t know about the future. But God knows the future and we can take comfort in that. It’s like the hymn says:
Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.
When the future seems so uncertain to you, look to God who knows for certain what the future holds. Know that God loves you no matter what may happen tomorrow. Know that God will be with you tomorrow and that He will take care of you then.
Ultimately, know that God has a future mapped out for you based upon His plans for you and His plans for you are good. And that’s why we can have the hope of a better future.
So the bottom line is, how can I follow God’s plan for my life? More specifically, how can you know God’s plan so you can follow it?
The key to knowing God’s plan for your life and following God’s plan is to simply follow God. If we will do that He will make His plan known to us in His time.
Don’t sit around and try to figure out God’s plan for your life, like you are trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle, hoping that all the pieces of your life will come together and fall into place. People like Noah, Moses, Abraham and Joseph did not search for God’s plan for their lives. God revealed it to them.
God will unfold His plan for your life if you will be committed to following Him. Following Jesus is what being a Christian is about. Jesus said:
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
We need to follow Jesus. And we need to do so wholeheartedly. We need to do so completely and unselfishly. We must deny ourselves. We must live for God and not ourselves. We must be willing to follow His plan for our lives and not our own plan. It is when we get to that point in our willingness to follow Jesus that God will reveal His plan to us.
If you want to follow God’s plan for your life, simply follow Him. If you will commit to following God, He will guide you in the plan He has for your life.
The ultimate hope of a better future that God offers each of us is the hope of eternal life in heaven. That hope becomes ours when we decide to follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Perhaps you need to make the decision of faith to follow Jesus for the first time today. If so, I want to invite you to come forward, while we sing our commitment song. I will ask you to verbally express your faith in Jesus as I lead you in the confession of faith that you believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and your Savior.
And then you can take that initial step of following Jesus by being baptized.
Perhaps you have already accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. But you need to be baptized. I invite you to come forward.
Perhaps you need a church family to belong to. If you have been baptized by immersion you can come forward to place your membership with our church.
Lebanon Christian Church
409 Yorktown Road
Newport News (Lee Hall), VA 23603
Phone: 757 887-5536
Nursery - High School
|Adult Bible Fellowships||Sunday||9:30 AM|
|Morning Worship Service||Sunday||10:45 AM|
Children’s and teen Bible School will resume in September.