My Plans This Year
It is common at the beginning of the year for family and friends to ask each other about new year resolutions and the plans for the year. Through this article i wish to assist Bible believers to respond to that question appropriately. I also wish to show how believers ought to perceive the world and our plans for the future.
I will discuss the following verses briefly in order to derive planning principles, and thereafter enumerate the plans for the year.
Jeremiah 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.”
This was a letter God asked Jeremiah to write to Israelites who were captive in Babylon. While suffering in captivity, God tells them through this letter that He has good plans for them. Plans to bring prosperity, hope and a future. Are these not the kind of plans we want for this year? God says, i have them for you. For these plans to come true in our lives, God asks that we call Him and seek Him with all our hearts, meaning genuinely, not faking it and not for gain but for love of God.
Principle 1: God has good plans for us and all He expects is a genuine relationship with Him
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God makes it clear that His methods and ours are different. How we perceive the path to a good successful life is not how God perceives it. In fact God says that we are so far apart that we will never come close to knowing what God is up to. Therefore since we will never see in advance where He is leading us and since we will never see the logic behind what God recommends, we are left with an option to just trust Him.
Principle 2: We cannot second guess God, we must just trust His plans and methods even when they don’t make sense now, they will in future. Trust God that He will bring out the best.
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. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
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.”
Life does not depend on hardworking and strategy. Life depends on the will of God. We succeed not because we worked hard but because God willed. That doesn’t nullify the need to work hard, but it prioritises our faith in God and dependence on God as we work hard. We have another article on this blog that further discusses this verse, it is titled, If the LORD wills….https://church.ueab.ac.ke/?p=890
Principle 3: Be conscious in all your planning that after you have done everything within your power and done it excellently…the ultimate answer will depend on God’s will. Invoke God’s will in your planning.
Matthew 6:31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Matthew 6:32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
This is a verse on priorities of planning and implementation. The verse states clearly that before you pray and plan and work hard, God knows all your basic needs and wants in detail. God knows you need a house, more money, a spouse, you need to graduate, you need children, etc. We are supposed to find comfort and in peace in the fact that God knows, but instead we seek peace in the things we need. The Bible says that is what pagans who don’t believe in God do. They seek peace in elaborate plans and achieving those things without thinking about God. We should find peace not in our new year resolutions, not in elaborate plans, not in SMART plans, but in God who is final. Therefore the passage concludes by telling us to seek first God’s kingdom and all other things will come as a bonus, as a by product. Further the verse tells us to do away with anxiety about the future which easily denies us today’s happiness.
Principle 4: God first without anxiety for tomorrow and all other things we dream and wish for will come by as we work on them.
Matthew 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Matthew 22:38 This is the great and first commandment.
Matthew 22:39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
This passage helps us appreciate what seeking first the kingdom of God entails. A complete love for God and the things of God, reflected in our relationship with other people.
Principle 5: Live a life that pleases God and human beings
Therefore my plans this year as per the above principles are as follows.
1. Focus on my relationship with God first and above all else. This means i deliberately i have a meaningful Bible study and prayer life. My church attendance. My obligation to God and the church which includes, tithes and offerings, and serving the church. I strive to make it genuine and a permanent lifestyle in good times and bad times. Be at peace with God.
2. Focus on my relationship with God reflecting in my relationship with other people. Love others. forgive others. Bear with others. Consider others better than me in the event of a conflict. Reject all hate and bitterness. Be at peace with others.
3. Banish anxiety and work hard, doing my best, knowing that God has got my back and with Him i will never fail. Anxiety will cause failure even where we would have easily done well. Anything approached with anxiety will fail. Anxiety that others will beat us in a materialistic competition. Anxiety that i will die soon. Anxiety that i will be rejected. Anxiety that i will fail. Anxiety that i am growing old without achieving certain things. Trusting God banishes anxiety. In the name of Jesus banish anxiety from my life.
4. If God wills punctuates all my activities from end to end. If God wills i will save and invest money and if God wills it will turn out to be profitable. We recognise God before we act. We recognise God while acting. We recognise God after the act. At this point the act too is important. What are you entrusting to God’s will? Entrust your best to God’s will and rest easy without doubt nor anxiety.
If God wills, what are your plans? This question is only important amidst these principles. The question is useless if isolated from the rest of the principles. Only when you appreciate the rest of the principles can you rightfully say, If God wills, i will do this or that.
Unfortunately some people will focus on this aspect and indirectly refuse to embrace the rest of the principles, yet they are interrelated and inseparable. You can’t genuinely say, if God wills, unless you trust God, you prioritise God and you aren’t anxious about the future because you trust God. The plan without faith in God is a waste of time, as it was with the rich fool of Luke 12:16-21.
Luke 12:16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully,
Luke 12:17 and he thought to himself, What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’
Luke 12:18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’
Luke 12:20 But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
Luke 12:21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
My plans that i surrender to God’s will are divided into, spiritual, mental, physical, financial and social. In that order i hereby give an example of plans.
If God wills i will study the Bible every morning before i turn on my phone and i will pray after switching off my phone at the end of the day.
If God wills i will study more, research more and write more, to grow my mental abilities.
If God wills i will reduce intake of junk food and have regular exercise.
If God wills i will save and invest 30 percent of my income.
If God wills i will stay away from toxic social media groups and i will seek peace with offensive people or avoid them all together.
After doing all these things, if God wills my life will be better than what it is today.
5. When along the path of life i experience doubt and fear that my future is dark, may i remember that God is leading me and He has good plans for me. May I remember that His ways are not my ways and they are so different, and even in seeming failure, i should remain faithful and trusting Him. My strategy in the event of seeming failure is to trust God anyway.
As you will discover, these are not just plans and resolutions for new year, but for all time and anytime when we desire a better life. May God grant us grace to follow His principles in Jesus name, Amen!(c)firstname.lastname@example.org (do not delete any part of this post, including this. You are free to share these posts but do not edit the authorship or content…thank you and be blessed!)