Recently I have had a poignant reminder of how man may plan his ways but God’s plans are not always the same. Sometimes we think we know best what needs to happen and what needs to be done in our life. We wrestle with truly allowing God to plan our life and let Him be the one who leads and guides us.
I can think of 2 very good examples in my life where this has been the case. The first one had to do with a person who I loved deeply but did not reciprocate that love. My plans and God’s plans were not the same. It was very hard for me to accept that this person was not the one He had for me. The second example is how my plan was for this website to become the #1 Christian website on the internet. This website has a place and a purpose, but I am not sure that was ever in God’s plan to be the #1 Christian website. Now after only a little over a month, Christian Faithbook has passed this website in the amount of page views and activity. So I felt it was time to take a look once again at Proverbs and what it teaches about the plans of man vs. the plans of God.
What Does Proverbs Teach About The Plans Of Man?
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 19:21 There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel – that will stand.
In both of these passages we see that it is normal for a man to try to plan out his life. In all honesty, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you remember that God is ultimately the one in charge and that your plans are conditional plans rather than being set in stone.
When I started out with Jesus 33 years ago I never would have dreamed that I would end up in Wyoming pastoring a Vineyard Church. Back then my plan was to be a Christian rock and roll superstar. I guess God knew that my head would someday no longer support long hair. LOL I never would have dreamed that I would be pastoring that church as a single man or that it would take so long for God to bring the right lady into my life. I had my plans, and God had His plans.
2 Things About God’s Plans vs. Man’s Plans
In these verses from Proverbs we see that there are 2 things that differentiate man’s plans from God’s plans. The first one is that in reality, God is the one that directs your steps. He is Sovereign. We may think that our plans and purposes are what ultimately decides our destiny but that is not the case. God is the one that decides our destiny. Yes we have freewill and we can openly resist the plans of God, but a person who does so is foolish.
We as mere mortals cannot see into the future. So our plans are based on our assumptions of what will happen. However God sees the big picture. He sees the future. He sees our needs and what will be a blessing to us. In my case, He knew what my heart and what my personality would love to do and be. So instead of giving me the rock and roll lifestyle with all of it’s celebrity and activity, He gave me the lifestyle that my contemplative and quiet nature would thrive in. Instead of giving me a wounded wife who could not love people different than she was, He gave me someone who has my heart and calling with people.
The second thing we see in these passages is that the counsel of God always stands. I have always been someone who likes shortcuts and figuring out ways to accomplish something in the fastest way possible. I have found that this is not God’s way or His counsel. He sticks to ways that have the highest success rate, not the quickest way to achieve the goal. I have found this axiom to be true.
“God cannot work through you what He has not worked in you.”
Taking the time to allow God to build His character and nature takes time. There is no shortcut to this process. I have tried by various means and inevitably it always fails. However if I do it according to His counsel, it always succeeds.
So you may plan the path in your life but if you fail to heed the counsel of God, you are heading the wrong direction. If you plan your life and include the counsel of God, then you will succeed even if at the end of that path, where you have arrived is not where you planned.
In my own life, I am successful. I am where God wants me to be. I have much more than my plans could ever have imagined. I am on a journey that is filled with all the good things in life, including finding favor from God by Him giving me someone who is more than I could ever have asked for.
So what is it going to be for you? Are you going to follow the plans of man or are you going to follow the plans of God?