Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finding God's Plan for Our Lives

Are you teaching your children that God has a purpose for their lives? Are you teaching them to fulfill their destinies? I heard Charles Stanley say that we should tell our children every day that God has a purpose for their lives. Good advice, but do we teach them that God has a specific plan for them?
A familiar scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, says, "I know the plans I have for you...", but what scripture tells us God has a plan for us? Does God have one plan -- one destiny -- for everyone?
The Bible says that God sees our whole lives before they happen. He saw us before we were born, knows everything we are going to say and do, and knows how many days we have. Somehow, God in his Wisdom knows what we are going to do, yet he has given us free will so that it is our choice. He knew you would read this column before you were born, but he didn’t make you read it, that was your decision, he just knew you were going to make it. Perhaps God has given us all certain interests and bents, and then uses them to point us where he wants us to go.
What the Bible teaches is that God's plan is to present us in heaven without fault and with great joy (Jude 24), his purpose for us is to build the Kingdom (Matthew 28:19-20) while we love Him and love each other (Matthew 22:37-38). His will is that we be perfect (Matthew 5:48). Anything short of that just falls, well, short.
So, does God have a plan for my life on earth or not? Does God have a plan for my children's lives or not? I think the right question is: "Am I living in harmony with God's plan?" The right thing is to realize that I am just a pixel in God's big picture. I am just a thread in God's master tapestry. (But God loves me individually.)
My goal, then, is to do my best at what I am, where I am. To grow where I'm planted. To ask each and every day if I am loving God most and building his kingdom on earth. That's where true joy comes from -- knowing that I have that purpose.
I think we put extra pressure on our children if we stress that they have some great job to do. The Bible teaches that we should do whatever we do for God, but it doesn't teach that everyone should preach or go to Africa as a missionary. Yes, we should share our faith, but that may or may not be our vocation.
Whether my children become plumbers, lawyers, teachers, office workers or preachers, they can still live out their purposes. They may do something really spectacular, like curing a disease or becoming an evangelist, or they may just live quiet lives loving God and their families. Either way, I'll be pleased.
We're not God's pets, robots or puppets. He gave us our own minds. Many things shape what we become. God somehow uses that to weave his master plan. Only a God powerful enough to create a universe could do that. I think God's true plan for us will only be revealed in heaven. Any plan for us on earth is stained by this fallen world. Some people are murdered -- could that really be God's plan for them? It's a deep and difficult issue and I'll leave it to God to sort out.
I'm teaching my children to fulfill God's will, sure, but I'm also encouraging them to do what they really want to do. I'm reminding them that they have a purpose, but finding God's plan is a little more tricky. I want them to delight in God, then follow their hearts. If they do that, they will have fulfilled their destinies and somehow fit nicely into God's master design.


Shelley said...

I can really relate to this article. I have 3 young children and am currently going through a nasty divorce from an abusive spouse. It is not what I believe God planned, exactly, but it was my choice to marry, then get wise, and divorce him. My children now also have to live with this decision, not by their choice, not necessarily because of Gods will.But, from here, we can choose to build on what we know God wants from us. We can pray each day to be vessels of God, ask Him to use us where we are, in our imperfection. (while striving for such). Ask for forgiveness for choices we aren't proud of, but also to "bless our mess". If we love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and seek his will and his purpose daily, and if we compell the Holy Spirit to pray on our behalf, then ,rest in the faith that God hears, and cares,we are doing the best we can to fulfill his plan for our lives. These things are always easier said than done, I struggle each day with the fact that God loves me enought to care whether I have a loving and healthy relationship with a man, as well as with the insecurity of the actual man I am having the relationship with. This is born from the abuse, I'm sure.
And, from, the holding back and pushing down of my emotions. Abuse teaches us to be strong, not weak. It shows us that we do have the power to fight back, and start again. God Bless all those reading this.

thrufaithalone said...

Much appreciation for your article. So many times "God has a plan for your life" is made out to be specific when His plan is for us is simply to be conformed to the image of His Son in whatever we do.