We’ve all made plans for something before. We plan on going to the beach or Six Flags during the summer. We plan on exercising and eating better this year to be able to lose weight. But things happen and these plans don’t come to fruition. A storm rolls in preventing us from going to the beach or Six Flags. We get lazy and stop pursuing a healthier lifestyle. We make plans, but don’t always see our plans come through.
I remember going to college to learn recording through the Radio & TV program at SFA. I wanted to be highly involved in the music scene and work with great artist. I knew I was called into the ministry and thought this was a way to bring great Christian music more into the open and reach people for Christ. I hated studying Radio & TV. I would fall asleep in the classes and did not care about the subject. There was some interesting information I learned, but I was more enthralled in my philosophy class. I was taking Intro to Philosophy to fulfill a humanities credit, but ended up enjoying the class. I quickly changed my major to philosophy within my second semester. Studying philosophy helped me to better understand my faith in Christ, and it made it easier getting through college. I thought I knew the plan, but God had something else for me.
A couple of years later, still in college at SFA, I began to question my career choice. There is no money in ministry or philosophy. I didn’t want to struggle financially once I graduated college, and I wanted job security. Therefore, I started to join the Army through SFA’s ROTC program. I started to fill out the paperwork, checked out gear, and spent a day with the ROTC. The whole weekend of this made me extremely sick to my stomach. I was not at peace about it at all. I quickly returned my gear, because I knew that I was running away from my calling as a minister. God had a plan for me and was not going to let me run away from it.
James teaches us that it is futile and pointless to plan for the future (4:14). We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. For all we know, we could die tomorrow. Things change as time goes on by. It’s nice to have a general plan and idea of where we’re going, but we need to be flexible when things change. My wife and I planned on waiting about 5 years before we started having children, but we’ll be pleased if God blesses us with one sooner. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and we’re trusting in the Lord for our future.
More importantly than being flexible, we need to trust in the Lord and His will for our lives. James says, “Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (4:15). We need to trust in the Lord for our futures. When the Israelites were in exile, God spoke to them saying, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11). God has plans for us, and they’re not for evil. This does not mean that we won’t face any hard times, but we can find assurance in the promises of God. But whatever we do, we need to make sure we’re following the will of God as best as we can. As I stated earlier, when I tried running away from God’s will and plan for my life, there was no peace.
The best way to follow God’s will is by obeying His commandments in the Holy Scriptures. The Bible details God’s will for our lives. Jesus says, “You shall love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40). To love God means to obey His commandments and to worship Him with everything we have. James teaches, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (4:17). The Bible teaches us what is right or wrong. When we deliberately and knowingly do something that God has commanded us not to do, then we have sinned. God tells us to stay sexually pure, not to murder, lie, steal, or worship false idols (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Ex. 20:1-17). Knowing the will of God through scripture and disobeying it is sin, it is wrong.
We need to trust in God’s will and plan for our lives. We know His will because of Scripture. Scripture tells us God’s promises and commandments. The best way to follow the will of God is to obey His commandments. Knowing the will of God and disobeying it is sin. Let us look to God’s Word and strive to follow it as perfectly as we can.