Sometimes I think I have good ideas.
Well, all the time actually. I really like my ideas and I’m full of them. How’s that for honesty?
When we talk about the future, we have to talk about ideas, because, whether we think we have lots of them or not, we all make plans. We all create an ideal scenario in our head of things we’d like to see happen. At the very least, we have ways we think things would work best, even when we are at our most flexible.
By being aware of this internal dynamic, we can begin to understand how to hand it over to God intentionally. Let me be clear – He already has the control, the very best plans, far better than our own, but it’s so much easier to walk in them when we are connected to Him and communicating with Him regularly.
Let’s see what James has to say about it, in James 4:13-17 –
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James reveals the heart of our sin when it comes to our ideas and plans. It’s not that we have them, but that we boast in them. We like them so much that we leave no room for God’s ideas. This creates two problems:
We think so much of our ideas and plans that no one can see God in them.
We leave God out. We flit around our day saying, “I’m going here. I’m doing this. I’m creating this out of my life.” We may even look good doing it, because our God doesn’t use fire and brimstone to make us aware of our ridiculousness (most of the time). We may feel like rockstars of our lives for a while, but we do so at the loss of closeness with God. When we are turned in on our own plans and profits and ideas we can only see us. We are less likely to pray, to turn to Him, to seek His Word and insight. Life may be fine, but we’ve given our days away and missed the very best part – Jesus Christ. And no one else can see Him in a life lived only for ourselves and our plans.
We end up walking the long way around, up the mountain, and through the fire, to get to the path God would have showed us to begin with.
Most of us know this pain. Have you ever walked the hard road to a destination God was trying to lead you to gently? I hear this from families that go to the Seminary all the time, or families who become believers later in life. God pursues because He knows and loves us. He has gifts to give and He doesn’t want us to miss them.
What does Psalm 23:6 tell us about the Lord?
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
God will chase us down to help us find the path He has chosen for us. Someone pointed out to me recently that follow in the original Hebrew of Psalm 23:6 also means pursue. Isn’t it good to know we have a God who won’t give up on us, even when we’re looking every which way but up?
Our God pursues us with mercy, despite all our plotting and planning without Him.
I believe God isn’t chasing us down to make sure we turn left to go to the right grocery store. He’s not that opinionated about the adiophera of life. But when it really matters, when it’s life or death, and by life or death I mean Jesus or not-Jesus, He’ll run down that road to show us.
James firmly turns us to prayer, again and again. What plans do you have today? What ideas would you really like to come to fruition? Turn it to over to Him.
Read James 5:16 and share what plans you have today with Him. Present your requests, your ideas, and your plans to Him, knowing that He is a God who pursues, who knows best, who gives generously, from a wise and steadfast heart.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.