One of the most common patterns in scripture is God making plans and people corrupting them. Not only are people often tempted to reject God's plan altogether, but even when they desire God's plan, they are apt to want to control and alter it. A few weeks ago, I wrote on our motivations for doing so in an article called 4 Reasons People Try to Control God's Plan. Now, I would like to provide some helpful safeguards in the form personal reflection questions to prevent this from happening. Here are four questions to ask yourself when you are having a hard time discerning whether a particular course of action is intervening, rather than obeying, God’s plan:
This sounds obvious, but it has to be asked. God will never require you to sin in order to fulfill His plan. You think your girlfriend is the one, and it is God’s will for you to marry her. If you moved in together now it would be much more convenient to not have to juggle two different rents. Do we really have to wait to enjoy each other physically if we know we will get married eventually? Don’t do it. God will not compromise on His holiness for the sake of your convenience. Repent and ask God for forgiveness and holiness to do things His way.
Consider whether God’s promise has to be fulfilled right now in order to be fulfilled. If not, be patient. If you have to go out of your way to make something happen, you’re probably intervening, not obeying. On the other hand, purposefully trying to slow God’s timeline because of fear or wanting to enjoy your life a while longer is cowardly. There is no such thing as a bad time to obey. Repent and ask God for the strength to work on His timetable, not yours.
You need to honestly ask yourself who stands to get the glory if this action works out. Is it God? Or is it you? Is winning that argument, even if it does have some Christian relevance, really going to bring glory to God? Or do you just want to be right? Repent and ask God for humility to work for the glory of God alone.
So much of the previous three rely on this. Do you really believe God is going to do what He says He will do? This is what often exacerbates #1 and #3, especially. You know you should be tithing, but all those bills. There’s no way God could take care of you and call you to give at the same time, right? Wrong. He can. He will. Have faith. Repent and ask God for the faith to trust what He says.
You might be discouraged because you have noticed just how easy it is to do all of these bad things. Fear not, God’s grace is sufficient. His plan is still perfect and unaltered. We just have to venture forth to submit to God and his plan in every way we can and ask for His forgiveness when we don’t. Obeying God’s plan is wonderful. Intervening in God’s plan is deadly.
I encourage you to watch a sermon I preached at my church on this topic from 2 Samuel 3. I pray it blesses you.
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