God Loves You & Has Multiple Plans for Your Life ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, November 29, 2007

God Loves You & Has Multiple Plans for Your Life

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the only one who find the proverbial "plan" God has for my life to be very limiting, not to mention elusive and darn hard to even identify. Am I? If so, read no further. This post is the product of a fevered brain and should be dismissed with a sympathetic grin. However...

If God has such a wonderful PLAN (singular, all caps), how come we spend so much time trying to figure out exactly what it is?

Fact is, God doesn't have just one plan for any of us, unless it's "Glorifying him by enjoying him forever" or "living out a kingdom reality." You get my drift. If any of us want to identify just one divine plan for our lives, it had better be a wide-angle, big-picture scheme. Anything less is a crude oversimplification of God's resourcefulness and sovereignty--and personally very frustrating, to boot.

In reality, God loves you and has multiple plans for your life, many of which you won't fully see until you move further into this life or beyond it entirely. He dabbles in a lot of fields, has his finger in a lot of pies. (He's a Jack of all trades, Master of 'em all and then some.) That "one plan" which we're supposed to discover, distill in a purpose statement, and tape to our refrigerator, is pretty much an urban-Christian legend. Jesus is doing multiple things in our lives at once, multiple crucial things.

Sure, God has specific purposes for our lives, and there's no doubt that some of them are more important than others. However, his wisdom is deep enough that he subversively uses all the circumstances of our lives to shape us and accomplish his purposes. The storylines we are aware of are not the only ones in play, and chances are, they are not the most important ones either.

"Your ways are not my ways," says God. "And if you doubt me, check out the stories of Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, Jesus...actually, just read the entire Book. When my protagonists actually know what I'm up to, it's the rare exception. And even rarer is when my plans cause pure bliss, certainty, and pleasure in the lives of those I love. You see, what you think you need, isn't. Not in light of eternity. Fortunately, I know the difference."

So, breathe more deeply. Relax, and stop scanning the horizon like it's an Excel spreadsheet. God's plans are not that linear, not that predictable, and definitely not that boring.

God has many purposes for your life, all of them being worked out, some hidden, some suspected--and all of them because he loves you.

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Rick Beckman said...

A hearty amen from me, AJ. I've spent quite a bit of time finding "God's perfect will" that I was missing the point entirely.

If we simply live as Jesus commanded us to, I believe we'll be living within God's will. Love God, love your neighbor. Forgive, go the extra mile, humble yourself.

God will work everything else out for the good for those who love Him and are called by Him.

We needn't try to discern the details that entails; we simply need to live in faith that it's true.

Regi G said...

Oh! Maybe that's been my problem, lately.

I think I've been wrestling with that very concept.

In fact, funny enough, it's why I came to blogspot to post at this time of the...is it 3 am????!!

Anyway, I've been doing a ton of "soul searching" and praying over my career path. In answer to that prayer, I got a bunch of questions...

What do you want to know everything about?

What do you see yourself exploring for the rest of your life?

What has more potential beyond a paycheck?

What will you do for money?

So there it is.

God is a Jack-of-all-trades? Woohoo!!! Wish I could master .0002% of what He does.

Regi G

must_decrease said...

It does seem as if we spend an inordinate amount of time crawling around on our hands and knees in the dark with a magnifying glass begging God to reveal His will to us, when in reality most of it is found coming at us full force in His Word.

"You want to know my will? Try the Sermon on the Mount, try the calls I made through Paul for unity in the body. When you get those accomplished let me know, oh and the whole go and make disciples thing? Yeah I was serious about that"

Great reminder

The General said...

Amen! I first developed a distaste for the traditional view of "God's Specific Will" because I thought it to be rather selfish. Rather than seeking God's revelation regarding the perfect spouse He has pre-ordained for us, or the 6-figure salaried career He has in store for us, we ought to be asking for God's wisdom to make informed decisions, and we ought to be seeking God's conviction of our sinful motives so that we can be sure that we are seeking God's Glory and not our own.

Personally, I believe that God's Specific Will is something we are called to be open to, but I do not believe that God has a Specific Will for every decision we make. I believe that God's Specific Will is either personally revealed (as Christ revealed Himself to Paul) or totally unavoidable (as God hardened Pharoah's heart).

I also have serious theological problems with the notion that God's Specific Will is always enclosed within His Moral Will, OR that blessings will always result from following God's Specific Will. God's Specific Will was that Pharoah's heart would be hardened so that he would disobey God's Moral Will in order that he might be turned into a vessel of wrath. Paul followed God's Specific Will in order to, and I paraphrase, "be shown how much he must suffer for Christ's sake."

My thoughts are too numerous on this subject for a blog comment, and I need to get back to work.

Paul said...

Great thoughts. And I am going to echo many of the sentiments found in the other comments. I think the key is obedience. We find God's plans for us when we our obedient in whatever situation we find ourselves in.

I think there is a danger in being consumed in discovering God's PLAN for our lives. That danger is missing on the small things God desires us to do along the way. Things that prepare us for what God has for us in the future.

Regi G said...

This discussion reminds me of the "prosperity message.” I’m not quite sure that was the point of the original post, though.

With this reminder, though, I am prompted to cull a bunch of thoughts I frequently have, forget, and try again to assemble.

It’s interesting that Paul was primed for ministry, but that, through the [specific] will of God, his ministry changed. Where Paul was headed is not where he ended up, but God used the skills Paul learned to aid him in true ministry.

"For such a time as this..." God can use us, regardless of our decisions. I mean, He's that good.

I don’t think God informed Paul of all of His thoughts before He blinded him and called him to Christian ministry. “So, Saul, all you have to do is change your name, tell people about Jesus and you get $300,000 a year, all the housing and free food you need. A posh life, really, with no worries. What do you say?”

Funny, but there isn't much influence of our plans on His. We just need to be willing to do what He wants us to when the time comes, when the opportunity presents itself, and to live our lives in such a way as to provide evidence that there is something unique about us in spite of our apparently normal, or completely challenging, lives. That is, if we're wanting to be part of God's will.

If we're not available, He'll get someone else. :(

Regi G

Ariel said...

Great discussion going on, and I'm MIA so far.

As several of you have said, I think obedience to God is underrated and "discovering" his precise will for the next six months is overrated. At least that's what I'm banking on, because my discovery attempts tend to go down like broken NASA missions...

For me, faith in Christ increasingly means bringing my concerns and questions to him, asking for his help, and then making important decisions without having seen God's laser pointer showing me which path is the perfect "center of his will."

And I'm not trying to be cavalier about it. It just turns out that I typically think that I need more information about my life than I really do. God doesn't want me trying to see his cards.

On the other hand, I'm convinced that God can speak to us in dramatic, unmistakable ways when he chooses. If that happens, he won't leave any doubt in our minds about what he's asking us to do. But unless that happens, we shouldn't mope and complain because we haven't been given a burning bush.

"Blessed are those who have not seen, but have believed," said Jesus. One of the verses I lean on.


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