1 We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.
Proverbs 16:1 (NLT)
There are 2 parts here: planning and right answer. God is not against us planning. In fact he wants us to plan for our future. Why else do you think he gives us brains for? God himself is a planner.
10 The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes.
11 But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.
Psalm 33:10-11 (NLT)
2 God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked.
Psalm 75:2 (NLT)
God had never done anything without any plan in the first place. Since we are made in the image of God and born again in his species, it is only right for us to make plans for ourselves.
“I don’t plan because I live by faith.”
Living by faith does not exclude planning. In fact, your ability to plan increases as your faith grows. When we are in faith, we have the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen.
1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
This means that if we don’t hope for anything, faith is basically useless. God did not give us faith for nothing. He expects us to use it to make everything we hope for to come true. He wants us to have things to hope for. How to find things to hope for? We need to have a plan. We need to list down our hearts’ desires, plan for all the necessary resources to make them happen, steps and mechanism to make our desires to come true.
We need to make plans because our plans give our faith a direction to work on. Some people may find the above explanation to be abstract. Let me give you an example.
You have a desire to be financially independent. You want to spend more time with your family. Right now, you spend most of your waking hours at work because you need the money to pay the bills. You wish one day you can have more time with your family and work only when you want to and not because you have to. You don’t want to be limited by money. You want to be in a state where you can go anywhere and buy anything you want without having to ask the question, “Can I afford it?”. You want to be in a position to be able to afford anything.
What should you do to fulfill this desire? You need a plan. In order to fulfill the above desires, you need the following:
1. A lot of money.
2. Continuous supply of a lot of money.
You need to be prosperous. Start learning how to receive prosperity. You can start reading the Bible and other books on prosperity. Go to churches that preach prosperity because you want prosperity. In short, learn everything you can about prosperity and put them into practice.
In this scenario, planning covers 2 areas:
Your learning plan should cover the following:
The time to set aside for Bible reading.
The type of church to attend.
The types of books on prosperity to acquire and the time to set aside to read them.
Faith messages to acquire and time to listen to them.
The websites to visit in order to learn from.
Learning is useless unless you put them into practice. Your plan to practice what you have learned must cover the following:
In the area of sowing and tithing, you need to determine the proportion, time and the recipients of your giving.
In the area of praying, you need to set aside time for it.
In the area of confession, you need to set aside the time and determine the exact words to confess.
In the area of building up your faith by listening to the Word Of God, you need to consider whether you need an external aids like an MP3, a walkman or discman to help you to listen to God’s Word when you are on the run.
In the area of overcoming doubts, you need to consider staying away from negative environment like pity parties.
The above are some examples I can thing of to help you to plan for the spiritual foundation of your prosperity. However the spiritual foundation is not enough. We need to plan for a physical structure. Here are some points to consider:
Do you intend to set up a business, aim for promotion or change jobs?
What are the knowledge, skills and formal certifications you need?
Do you need to improve on the way you talk, write, present yourself and relation to others?
Do you need to take up a part-time or full time course?
Do you need to read books on management, sales, communication or other technical issues?
Other stuff you can think of.
We need to plan for our future because without plans our desires are nothing more than fantasy and they will always remain fantasy.
The second part of Proverbs 16:1 tells us the Lord gives the right answer. Our plans must me flexible enough to allow God’s presence in it. God may want us to plan but he is still greater than our plans. When he wants to alter our plans, don’t try to defend it. Just obey God because ultimately he is the source of our prosperity.
For example, you may plan to be the CEO of a company but God may call you to be a preacher. When that happens, you should not feel like you have been cheated and have to sacrifice your prosperity. God can still make you rich even if you are a preacher of the Gospel. If you look around, there are quite a number of preachers who are rich. They may be persecuted by the religious groups but the bottom line is they are rich. Our obedience to God will never block our blessings. In fact, our obedience to God will result in greater prosperity and success into our lives.
Therefore, we can make our own plans but the Lord gives the right answer.