Thursday, November 09, 2006

"Spirit" -> No Plans With Goals


Hi, so you're a Christian?

You better get use to juggling.

The whole of Christianity is the trick of juggling divergent themes. This is not to say that Christianity is difficult. The message of the cross is very simple: you are guilty and you need to be forgiven. However, the Lord challenges us with practical applications that are not simple for sinful man to hang onto.

Through out this blog, you will see that I say things like "where are you going?" and "What are your goals?" Therefore, you might suspect that I believe that you should be "goal driven" and "driving in purpose."

While I believe the Lord calls us to make goals, think about the future, and to make investments, I also believe the following:

"Beware when we make any plans."

So let's look at a couple scriptures on our planning.

James

(4:13) *Now listen,¤ you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."¤ (4:14) *Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.....(4:15) Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will,¤ we will live and do this or that." (4:16) As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.¤

Matthew

(6:31) So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (6:32) For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.¤ (6:33) *But seek first his kingdom¤ and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.¤ (6:34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Why? Because the Lord has his plans for you.

Jerimiah

(29:11) For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (29:12) Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (29:13) You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (29:14) I will be found by you," declares the LORD....

The key is not the idea that "we make plans" but that "we discover God's plan."

As I have mentioned before, I go to Calvary Chapel. The well known leader of the first Calvary Chapel is our Pastor Chuck Smith. He was recently preaching on Moses. He told the story that Moses always had a calling to rescue the Children of Israel from Egypt. However, Moses--at a young age--got ahead of the Lord. He then remarked that the biggest challenge in his life was faced whenever he decided that he was going to "help the Lord out."

I have a close friend that perhaps that you can relate to. He has had ups and downs in his life. However, during several occasions he had an explosion of growth in his career. At a fairly young age, he made it up to Vice President level at a major corporation. However, through a couple bad turns, he got knocked down a half step, and is cruising at the same level for roughly 5 years.

He recently told me that he knew that he was blessed, but during the last five years he had gained skills, wisdom, and judgment. He said that he was more capable and brighter now than ever before, and he was highly tempted to go and find another job that would reward him for his ability.

I asked him why he didn't leave his job.

He said that that would be cheating. He said that he was waiting for his next promotion to come from the Lord, and he knew the Lord had a blue print for his next step. He said that he knew the Lord wanted him to wait rather than trying to force his way to a higher level at his current job, or a better paying job at a different company.

He said that he was battling with this, and some days he was sorely tempted not to wait. However, on most days, he had fought back his own inclination, and was satisfied in the job he had, regardless if he knew that he could do more. In my mind, he's found the right path, and I understand how difficult this path really is, because I fight the same urges in my job.

The ultimate goal of our Christian life is as follows:

1. Control your own desires
2. Live a life that is quiet and reverent to the Lord
3. Go about discovering the plan that God has for your life. Then cooperate with this plan.
4. If you discover wealth or good times, it will be because the Lord gave them to you. Not because you set high and lofty goals and were driven to them.
5. If you are to win a battle in your life, you need to do this because you are depending on the Lord's plan. Not because you did anything.

We are called to work as hard as we possibly can, yet we are to take no comfort or security in that hard work. Our comfort and security comes from the Lord, in whom our trust is placed.

It is all about the trite phrase with a wallop: "Let Go And Let God."

Letting go doesn't mean "giving up."

Letting go means "letting go of our own comfort in our own works."

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