Your Plan, God's Plan
March 08 05
I hear this all the time from so many teachers: "God is no respecter of persons: He wants all people to have their dreams come true. But you have to work hard to make it happen. You can have the dream house, the new car, the great career. You just have to want it enough to go out and get it. That's God's plan for your life."
So, what happens when you do achieve your dreams and you're still not happy? What happens if you work hard and you never attain those goals? Does that mean that God doesn't love you? Does that mean there's no hope for you? Is it really God's plan that you have your dreams come true in this life?
Let's see what God has to say about His plan for your life. First, if you don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ such that you are following Him as your Savior, that is God's first order of business. God wants you to recognize that you have sinned and are now separated from Him. Upon your true confession of sin and your recognition for your need of Jesus' blood sacrifice on the cross to save you from the penalty of your sin, you enter into a new life with God. Once you have done that and you are walking with God in faith, His plan is for you to be a witness of His love. You are to tell everyone about the sacrifice that Jesus made for the sins of the world.
Along the way, you will find that you need the fruit of the Spirit and, indeed, as you fulfill God's plan in faith and all sincerity with a right heart, that fruit will naturally grow. Why? So we can have the tools necessary to carry on the work of preaching the Gospel. The fruit of the Spirit bears witness of the power of God to change lives. How can we be witnesses to God's love if we have no love for people? The fruit of the Spirit is also necessary for the practical work of evangelism because to be able to effectively communicate the Gospel to the world, we must have love, patience, kindness, self-control. And as we preach the Gospel, we will be persecuted. The fruit of the Spirit working in us will hold us steady as we come up against the tide of tribulation. Contrary to what our teacher has told us about having a nice house and new cars and good jobs, the Bible says that the life of a Christian -- if lived correctly -- will not be easy.
Just browse the book of Acts and see: Peter and John are arrested (Acts 4); several apostles are jailed (Acts 5); Stephen is stoned to death (Acts 7); Paul is nearly killed (Acts 9); James, the brother of John, is killed by Herod (Acts 12); Peter is imprisoned (Acts 12); Paul and Barnabas are persecuted at Antioch (Acts 13) and Iconium (Acts 14); Paul is stoned at Lystra (Acts 14); Paul and Silas are stripped and beaten and imprisoned (Acts 16); Jason, a convert, is persecuted (Acts 17); Gaius and Aristarchus are seized at Ephesus (Acts 19); Paul is arrested and beaten in Jerusalem (Acts 21); and Paul and Luke are shipwrecked (Acts 27).
Did these early Christians dream of nice homes, lots of money, and the easy life? Probably not, but even if they did, it's obvious those dreams didn't come true. But let's turn it around: Did these early Christians dream of being persecuted, beaten, stoned to death, imprisoned, and shipwrecked? Probably not, but that's what they got all because they were obedient to God. Living a life in submission to the will of God is the hardest life anyone can live on this earth. Do we look for heartache and tribulation? No. We look for hope in the coming of our Lord. This life is temporary. God is more concerned with our eternal life than He is with our temporal life on this earth.
Living your life the way you desire and telling others that God has a wonderful plan for their life is not the Gospel and is not God's will. Jesus says that he who seeks to save his life will lose it (Matthew 16:25a). You may have it easy for awhile and you may enjoy yourself for awhile, but there will come a day when all your dreams are gone and your life is lost forever. Jesus says that those who lose their life for His sake will find life (Matthew 16:25b). If you surrender all your desires and dreams to God, He will give you eternal life with Him and a spiritually blessed life on this earth until He comes again.
Our life here is to be lived out to the glory of God, that he who dies to himself in this life will have eternal life with God. That is our hope. And if that is truly our hope, then we will do anything to tell others about that hope that is available to them also. The apostles and early Christians gave their lives for that hope through the preaching of the Gospel. God's plan is still the same. What is your plan?