“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” – Philippians 1:6
We”re half way through our series taken from a short sample of Joyce Meyer’s “Battlefield of the Mind Devotional, and I have to say that it’s been a joy and privilege to learn from such an anointed woman of God. I know that I’ve grown in the first week of messages, and I’m looking forward to learning more. Today’s message is titled: A Perfect Plan. A couple of day’s ago I wrote from a Our Daily Bread message about God’s Timing, and I think that can be linked to today’s message because God’s Timing is always exact, and it’s always part of God’s plan and design for our lives. God’s Timing is exact, and His plan is always perfect. So, let’s see what we can learn today about what makes God’s plan…A Perfect Plan.
What does it mean to think that God has a perfect plan for us? –
Have you ever been like me, and heard someone say “God’s plan is always perfect.” while you were in the midst of something that didn’t seem to agree with that statement? Maybe yesterday’s message kind of ties into what we’re talking about today because it’s usually when we’re in the midst of struggles when someone we come across makes that declaration that God’s plan and timing is always perfect. So, you think in your mind or maybe you even say to them…don’t you know what I’m going through? Perhaps I’m the only one who has ever been here, but I’m going to go out on a limb to suggest there are many of you who know exactly what I’m talking about.
So, what exactly does it mean to think that has a perfect plan for us? What exactly does it mean that God’s timing is always perfect? Why is His plan and timing always perfect, and ours wrong? Oh, maybe I’m the only one who asked that last question there…how come my plans and my plans never right?
Perhaps it’s the word “perfect” that troubles us. We’re fallible and make so many mistakes. How could anything be perfect in our lives? We know ourselves too well. Immediately we think of our shortcomings and shake our heads.
That’s a trick of Satan! The plan isn’t perfect because we’re perfect; the plan is perfect because God is perfect. God has a special plan for each of our lives.
I would tend to agree here that part of the thing that troubles us is the word “perfect” when it comes to God’s timing and plans for our lives. After all, the only thing that’s really perfect is God, right? I mean we are fallible, and He is infallible. We are unholy, and He is holy. We are sinful, and He is sinless. So, how in the world can anything about us or our lives be perfect? I mean I miss God on a daily basis. I’m always needing to adjust my priorities in life because I allow things to become unbalanced, and place things of the world before Him. So…how can anything be perfect in our lives?
Remember that question I asked a minute ago about why our timing, and plans aren’t perfect? The reason is the only thing perfect about us is that we’re in Christ, and we are not. So, that’s really a simple answer to a complex question that we’re never really going to know the answer to until we can ask Jesus in person. I know that’s one question I might actually want to ask Him. Why it was that I couldn’t ever do anything right on my own, and something tells me His answer is going to be just what He said in John 15…you couldn’t do anything right because apart from Me you can do nothing.
“The plan or timing isn’t perfect because we’re perfect; the plan and timing is perfect because God is perfect. What should happen because of the perfection of God is the humility to understand that, and realize that Proverbs 3:5-6 is written to help us to understand that when God directs our paths, our steps, and ultimately our lives…it’s not perfect because we are, but because God is. His plan, His time, His direction, and His leadings are always right. You know how people who believe or speak out that “there aren’t any absolutes in life”? That’s wrong. There is One who is Absolute…His name is Jesus. He’s absolutely holy, absolutely perfect, and absolutely right 100% of the time.
There’s never a time when God is wrong, there’s never a time when God isn’t holy, there’s never a time when God isn’t perfect, and there is never a time when God is going to fall short, fail, or make a mistake. You aren’t a mistake…and the best way to avoid making more mistakes than you’d like to is to make sure that we’re acknowledging and leaning upon God in all things. I know that’s much easier said than done, but that’s how we’re supposed to live this Christian life of ours.
Do you know that’s why I believe we’re so stressed out? I have to be honest, and say that when my life is in line with God’s timing, God’s plan, God’s direction, and guidance it’s much less stressful. There’s always going to be tests, trials, temptations, and situations that arise whether we’re walking in God’s perfect plan or not. Like I said yesterday, God never promised us a difficulty free life, but He did promise that whether we’re walking through still waters or the valley of the shadow of death…He would walk through it with us…and He even promises that sometimes He will carry us through…but the key to that is whether it’s good or bad…relying upon Him. Again, I realize that’s much easier said than done, but the key to a restful life is bringing our burdens to Him in exchange for His. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Let’s think about that plan. In Philippians 1:6, Paul told us that God saved us and started a good work in us. Paul also wrote, in Ephesians 2:10, that we are God’s handiwork (or workmanship). The two verses before that tell us that we’re saved by God’s grace. We have nothing to do with the act of salvation–we haven’t earned it or deserved it. We are born into the kingdom of God as a gift.
The first part of God’s perfect plan is our salvation like we read about here, and in Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 2:8-10. When we came to Christ we became new creations. Before we even came to salvation God already had a perfect plan for our lives, and once we accepted His Son as Lord and Savior of our lives He begins to work out of us that plan. People get weird when you talk about predestination, but really if you read the Bible what it says is that God is all-knowing. Like we talked about yesterday God’s not boxed in by time because He is time. So, since He is time He knows what the absolute perfect plan is for our lives because He knows it from beginning to end.
I believe that before we ever come into existence God has a plan for our lives, but because He gave us free will we have the ability to choose our way or His. If you don’t believe that take a look at Adam and Eve’s relationship with God before the fall. If you ever want a picture of what God’s perfect plan for our lives is we need look no further than the beginning of the Bible. God’s desire, and perfect plan is to walk with each and every one of us in the cool of the day just like He did with Adam and Eve.
However, when faced with a choice to live by God’s Word, or believe that God was holding out on them prompted Adam and Eve to make the greatest mistake the world has ever seen…they chose their own will over the will of God. Ever since then not only did they pay for their mistakes, but so do we. We come into this world as sinners because of their choice to do things their way instead of following God’s plan…and that’s exactly what we do today. We make horrible choices, and decisions based upon what we think is perfect and right for our lives. We choose to live like Frank Sinatra’s way, and not God’s.
Yes, for a time or season our way may seem to be working, but in the end our best laid plans seem to fall apart at the seams. I suppose I’m the only one who has come to the conclusion that my plans just don’t ever seem to work out as good as the ones God has for me. But, yes, friends, the picture of God’s perfect will and plan is seen before the fall.
God’s plan was never for us to taste death, destruction, and disease. God’s plan was never for us to be separated from Him, and to not have a perfect relationship with Him. His plan was perfect…it was man who screwed it up, and that’s why our world is in the state that it’s in today…man has chosen their own desires, their own lusts, and their own plan. We go through life doing things our way, and then when life turns out to not be as wonderful as we thought it should…we point the finger at God and blame Him for the results we’re reaping from our choices, our decisions, and our plans…that we made without Him.
I understand that there are things that happen that are beyond our control because of the state of the fallen world we live in. However, for the things that we’ve done in our lives that we are reaping a harvest off of…I think it’s long overdue that we stop pointing and shaking our finger at God, and look in the mirror at the person responsible putting the blame where it belongs…on us. I’m just as guilty at finger-pointing at God as anyone else, but the more I learn the more I realize that it’s my fault for the harvest I’m reaping. I was the one who sowed the seeds of the flesh, and the Bible says that if we sow to the flesh we’ll reap corruption.
As soon as we say, “But wait! I’m not perfect! I fail,” we have taken our attention off God and allowed Satan to distract us with wrong thinking. Our loving Lord pleads with us to turn our minds and hearts fully over to Him. The more fully we do that, the more completely we live by His good and perfect plan.
One of the things that I find to be just awesome is that it was God who came to Adam and Eve after they fell, and sought them out. One of the things I like about the story of the Prodigal son is that God’s always standing on the porch watching down the driveway of our lives for us to come walking up the road, and do you not know that we don’t even have to get to the driveway before He begins to run to us? The moment the king saw his son…he ran to him. The moment we take a step towards God…He runs to us. There’s an old song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean that says:
Mercy came running
Like a prisoner set free
Past all my failures to the point of my need
When the sin that I carried
Was all I could see
And when I could not reach mercy
Mercy came running to me
I like the part that says: “When the sin I carried was all I could see, and when I could not reach mercy…Mercy came running to me…past all my failures to the point of my need.” Oh that we would get these words in our hearts, minds, and spirits. God sees past our faults, our sins, our failures, and all the way to the point of our needs. We are not perfect, but He is. When all we can see is where we’ve been our focus is in the wrong place, and we’ve allowed our mess to distract us from what God wants to do in our lives. When we are conscious of where we’ve been, and not where God’s taking us that’s when we begin to find ourselves in that spiritual lull.
God came to set us free from the prison of our past, and there was a time when the Lord finally got me to break free from dwelling on what happened yesterday. I still look back today, but it’s because I’m able to see where I was without God…and now I’m able to see just how far He’s taken me. I never could’ve gotten to the point where I am today looking at where I was, and dwelling on my past.
I don’t feel worthy to be able to write like I do for the Lord, and the truth is I’m not. I’m not worthy to be used by the Lord, but He had a plan…a perfect plan for my life. Going all the way back to the beginning of this message is the understanding that I am not perfect, but I serve the One who is. I’ve been recreated by the One who is perfect, and each day I step toward Him I am walking more in line with that perfect plan.
It’s really quite simple. When I do things my way, on my time-table, and according to my plan…while it may not be horrible…it’s not perfect. When I do things God’s way, on His time-table, and according to His plan…it is perfect. I didn’t say it was eventless. I didn’t say that I don’t still face trials, tests, temptations, and even persecution because I do. However, what’s happened is that I understand those things are in my life to buffet me, and for God to demonstrate His power in my life…when I choose to submit and surrender to His will, His time, and His plan.
The plan isn’t perfect because we’re perfect; the plan is perfect because God is perfect. God has a special plan for each of our lives.
Conclusion & Prayer:
As we think about God at work in us, we remind ourselves that God is perfection. Nothing we can ever do would be good enough to satisfy God’s perfection. Only Jesus, the Perfect One, is good enough. Nothing but our faith in Him makes us acceptable to God.
Knowing that He’s the One who is responsible for perfection takes a lot of the stress, strain, and work out of it for me. I say all the time that I’m not perfect…I’m being perfected…and that helps to elevate the pressure of trying to become something I cannot be…the perfection I have is because my faith isn’t in my perfection, but the perfection I have because of Jesus.
Pray: Perfect God, help me in this battle for my mind. Satan constantly reminds me of my imperfections and my weaknesses, but I ask You to remind me of Your perfection, Your love, and Your closeness so that I can always walk in victory. I ask these things through Jesus Christ. Amen.