Planning In God's Will

Series: Other Speakers

Sun am, 2 January 2011 – Adriaan Pretorius

The start of a new year has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and how to follow through on those changes.

I have done some research on this topic and found that even New Year’s Resolutions have now been commercialised. You get the top ten list for instance and with it comes a whole lot of suggestions, all costing something of course. There is also a strong indication that people do make the same resolution year after year after year…

The problem however is that our New Year resolutions are man-centred. Better still, it is self-centred. If I examine the top ten resolutions carefully, I can only come to one conclusion:

Most New Year resolutions are plans that we make to benefit us. We craft them skilfully, relying on our own abilities.

And we are so good in making plans. We spend a lifetime in some cases learning how to make better and better plans, refining and honing these plans to achieve a certain desired outcome.

How about you, do you have plans or at least a plan?

I want to quote a number of verses from the Bible so that we can hear and see what the Word has to say about these plans:

Proverbs 16:1 (The Message), Proverbs 16:9 (TNIV), Proverbs 19:21 (The Message), Proverbs 19:21 (NAS), Isaiah 46:11(b) (NAS)

From these verses it is clear that our plans cannot stand before the plans of God. That whatever we plan, it will not be sustainable unless it ties in with the plans of God, unless it connects with the plans of God.

Let me give you just one example of God’s plan for us:

Ephesians 1:3–6 (NAS)

If we read these verses from the message, Peterson added a remark at the end of verse 5 reading; (What pleasure he took in planning this!)

There is another important fact to take note of here.

We read that God has predestined, planned, intended to adopt us as sons and then we read:

“according to the kind intention of His will…”

This makes it clear that God did not just plan something. No! He planned according to His Will.

So now we understand that God plans according to His will, that these plans will be executed, will come to fruition. In other words, the Will of God will come to pass.

And this brings me to the heart of the message this morning. The Will of God.

Mark 3:35 (NAS), Mark 3:35 (The Message)

When we talk of the Will of God, we often ask this question:

“But what is the Will of God?” The answer comes from …

Romans 12:2 (TNIV), Romans 12:2 (The Message)

These verses refer to the renewal of the mind. So, to understand what God’s will is, we must undergo a renewal of the mind. Part of this renewal includes:

  • dying to self,
  • making a decision to submit in all things to God,
  • not making my own plans, but to follow God’s plans
  • and to be obedient

1 Peter 4:1–2 (The Message)

1Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way.

2Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

1 John 2:17 (NAS)

17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

This finally brings me back to New Years Resolutions.

May I suggest a different approach this time round?

Instead of looking at what the world has to offer, instead of looking at myself and my needs, instead of making plans that will benefit me in my present circumstances, why not use all that energy to come to a single decision:

“To allow the renewal of the mind in order to know God’s will and then to obey Him”

John 5:19 (NAS), John 5:30 (NAS)