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Last week Solomon told us to acknowledge the Creator and grow fat on the good news that is available because of Jesus Christ. All of us need to listen up and learn. Listen to those wonderful, godly, authentic people God had put in you path. Acknowledge who God is and what He has done in your life and watch what He will do in you and through you. That’s how we become a positive light in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our communities. This morning, we’ll see how making plans work when you don’t consult God.
Pro. 16:1-3 says, “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.”
This is an odd way to start. “The plans of the heart belong to man.” As we have often said, the heart is the seat of emotion, it is at the epicenter of who we are. There were no chapter divisions in the original manuscripts of Scripture so this is connected with chapter 15. The idea is that when you formulate plans on your own without giving consideration to what God would have you to do, they are your own. When your heart is knit with God’s, the plans you intend to formulate are evaluated in light of Scripture, are bathed in prayer, and they’re formed from a biblical worldview. What’s really neat about this is that Solomon is talking about two different perspectives of the same thing. Men make plans and it’s assumed that they are biblical, godly, holy, etc. Man does that, but it is God that gives man the ability to formulate those words into persuasive and challenging speech. Matt. 10:19 says, “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.” Many of us are hesitant to offer words to anyone because we’re afraid we won’t know what to say or even that we’ll say something dumb or something that will drive a person farther away from God. To all of that I say nonsense. Not only do we have Scripture that tells us so, but I have experienced the truth of Scripture on more occasions than I could possibly remember. If you always go into a situation knowing exactly how to handle it, know exactly what to say and how to say it, well why do we need to rely on God? One of the most defining Christ like characteristics we can demonstrate is our speech. Whether it’s electronic through Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media or if it’s in one on one conversation. We must not and cannot compartmentalize our faith. Either our faith is going to guide us and transform us or it is dead. It simply comes down to a matter of trust.
Will you choose to trust that God will give you what you need when you need it? If you will take that one step of faith, I guarantee that God will come through for you. One caveat here . . . we’re talking spiritual matters. If you don’t study for a test, I’m not saying that God will magically give you the answer to pass. There is an understanding that we’ve done the work we need to do. We’ve studied the Scriptures, we’re engaged in an actual relationship with Christ, we are being sanctified each and every day, our faith is active and alive. The Apostle Paul compared our faith to a race so if you think about training for a sporting event, how successful do you think you’d be in competing in a marathon if you didn’t have a rigorous training schedule? Somehow in our walk of faith, we think it’ll be different. Lots of people think they can have an effective relationship with Christ if they read their Bible once in a while or pray once in a while or attend church once in a while. Nonsense. Even naturally talented people have to do their part.
This is a tough one. “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight.” This sure is a verse for today. In the time of the judges, everyone did what was right in their own eyes. (Jud. 21:25) I think we’ve even moved a bit farther away from this. Not only are people doing what is right in their own eyes, but they want to impart their ideals on others. It seems people are no longer content to have their own opinions; there are people that want you to change your opinion and if you don’t, you’re deemed the intolerant one. When people evaluate themselves against no standard or a shifting standard, then all is okay. When you consider your ways, you’ll likely conclude that all is well, that whatever you’re doing is okay. “But the Lord weighs the motives.” It can look good on the outside, but it’s what’s in the heart that matters. Remember the heart is the seat of emotion. You might be able to convince yourself or others of the reasons why you do what you do, but the Lord knows the real deal. Heb. 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” That’s just one reason why we need to be in the Word each and every day. Do you want to know why you do the things you do? Get in the Word and let it reveal truth to you. We should be like David when he cried out, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Ps. 139:23-24)
Here’s one of the best things to do when you don’t know what to do. Solomon says, “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” This verse literally means, roll onto Yahweh your works. That’s a bit strange for us to consider in modern English. It’s connected with the preceding verses. When you consider all the activities you’re engaged in; the overarching goal should be worshiping God. Under the umbrella of worship is prayer; reading, meditating, studying, and memorizing God’s Word; giving, evangelizing, singing praises to God, discipling, teaching, and all the other spiritual activities we engage in all fall under the umbrella of worship which I can summarize as obedience to God. Submit everything you do to God first. It’s okay to have goals and ambitions, but consult God first. Don’t have your life all planned out and then inform God of how it’s going to be. Just because something is a good opportunity does not mean God wants you to take it. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean God wants you to quit. Here’s the progression. You submit yourself to God, you tell Him what you plan on doing and let Him evaluate it. A really cool thing happens when you’re in synch with God. The plans you come up with are really His. God has supernaturally infused His will within you.
It’s interesting to me that people actually think there is a non-spiritual or non-Christian aspect to their lives. How can you possibly separate yourself from Christ? Why would you want to? That great invitation hymn says, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.” The second verse says, “All to Jesus I surrender, humbly at His feet I bow, worldly pleasures all forsaken; take me, Jesus, take me now.” There is no conditional surrender: either you’re surrendered or you’re not. Think about who you’re surrendering your life to. Sometimes it seems people are more willing to surrender themselves to the government or the world’s systems. You’re surrendering yourself to the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You’re placing yourself under the authority of the strong Son of the living God. You’re placing yourself under the authority of the One that created the heavens and the earth and all that it contains. You’re placing yourself under the authority of the One that gave His only Son so that you might have life. Commit yourself to God and watch how He transforms your plans and goals and ambitions.
It’s easy to conclude that our plans are good and right, but do we consider God’s plan? It’s a really good idea to step back and see eternity’s plan from God’s perspective. A great way to evaluate your plans is to use Scripture. God evaluates plans based on motive and His sight is perfect. Just because something is a good idea doesn’t mean God wants you to be engaged in it. Just because you’re presented with a good opportunity doesn’t mean that God wants you to take advantage of it. When you’re in a vibrant, daily, engaged relationship with God through His Son, His plans become your plans.