Now that the holidays are over, what are your plans for this coming year? Where do your priorities lie? There are so many options! In fact, there are so many, they are unlimited. Our options are dependent on our desires, ambitions, hopes, and even regrets.
Christians can forget one important thing when it comes to the future. Yes, we can make our plans. We can want to go a certain direction only to find out that that was a bad idea or that we need to reevaluate what we planned. Sometimes we will make the best of plans, but we can have the worst consequences. There are some occasions, that we neglect to make any plans at all. That can be to our benefit or not. I was so pleasantly surprised how God provided for me in one area. Here is an example.
I never intended to join the military. It was not much long after that I graduated from seminary and a friend from school called me. He said, “Guess what I did?” Then he proceeded to tell me he joined the Air Force. He said for me to go do it. Without thinking and without any intentions, I made an appointment with the wing chaplain of the nearby base. The wing chaplain is the head chaplain who at that time was a full colonel. I admitted to him that I knew nothing about the Air Force. I pointed to the insignia on his epaulet which was shaped like an eagle. I told him I knew nothing what that meant. He must have been amused by my honesty.
At any rate, I never thought to join the military as a chaplain. In looking back at it, I think my friend was used by God to cause me to join the military. Twenty-two years later I retired as a lieutenant colonel. As a result of my years in the Air Force, part of my retirement included medical benefits. I tell you the truth that if that had not happened, I would have been in a world of hurt because I did not have good medical insurance otherwise. God looked ahead and saw what I needed. He provided for something that I had no idea for what to ask. I made no plans, but God made them for me. That was an exception to the rule.
Usually, every single one of us makes plans. We hope for it to work out to our benefit. Sometimes they do and sometimes they do not. We might put a lot of thought into our plans. On the other hand, we might make a decision very spontaneously. However, we make our plans, the Bible teaches us there is one thing that we can overlook quite often.
James 4: 13-15 says, “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continued there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas you know not what you shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. For that you ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
Sometimes God provides for us without us knowing it. Sometimes he redirects us. But many times, we make our own plans without considering God. Does God really approve of what we have in mind? Would he bless the outcome? It is very important that when we come to decisions, God is the chief factor in our plans. How is this so? Ask yourself some questions.
Would what you plan bring honor to God?
Would this bring honor to yourself?
Would God be pleased to bless you when you do this?
Would the end result be a good thing for you and those you love?
Would this be a means to be a witness before other people?
Would this be a way that you could advance God’s kingdom?
Would this be a consequence that could be hard to overcome?
Would you tell your child to do the same thing as you plan?
Would this be something that you would stand in public to say what your intention is?
Would you be taking the Bible’s instructions into consideration?
Would you be allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking?
There are times that God blesses us and has plans for us without us even realizing that: such as when I joined the Air Force. However, there are many times we make plans for ourselves. When we make our own plans, it is imperative that we make plans taking God into consideration! Happy new year.