Friday, January 8, 2016

No plans and no goals

As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (Psalms 90:10-12)

So few of us “number our days.”  We are prone to take for granted that another day is coming and even another year for things left undone to be done and new things to happen.  Wise living recognizes the value of every day we live and the opportunity we have to impact our world. 
There are three faulty assumptions of those who make no plans and set no goals:
1.    They think their feelings are an infallible guide for sensing the leading of the Spirit.  But even Jesus did not take this attitude, for when he prayed in the garden, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39), he was clearly indicating (among other things) that His feelings were in opposition to His purpose from the Father.  He would prefer not to face the cross but was led to it by God.
2.    They believe that the Holy Spirit leads people only in a spontaneous way.  That is, He does not move them to make plans but to be free to act on a whim.  I have even seen teachers and preachers who do not prepare but lean wholly on chance to direct them.  They seek to be “open to the spirit” to say what comes on impulse.  John 4:1 says,  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  The gift of the Spirit was no excuse for poor planning and study.
3.    They subconsciously reject the idea that they can hear the Spirit’s voice through the Scriptures.  By abandoning the Word of God as their normative guide, they are assuming that the Holy Spirit usually circumvents the Word when he speaks to men. This is hardly the view of the Spirit-led men of the past.   David gave instruction to seek the Word of God in Psalm 119:9-10 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.  Paul counseled young Timothy not to neglect the Word of God when he said, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness. (2 Timothy 2:15-16)
Holding too tightly to plans and goals
The opposite extreme is to be so engrossed in our plans and what we are doing that we ignore when God is giving us direction. In Acts 16 Paul is on a determined course of mission work when A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (Acts 16:9-10)  Insensitivity to the Spirit was not an option. 
We should use our minds and set goals, but we must do so in humility, recognizing that God alone controls our destiny. James brings the healthy balance to the issue...
Scripture to Claim:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Devotional Archive