This week, Pastor Chris brought a powerful word about the human-divine cooperative and the tension between our plans and God’s purposes. We begin from the truth that God has good plans to bring peace and plenty to all who will call on His name and surrender to Him. We tend to look at the external while the Lord looks at the heart. Our plans change and shift, but God’s purpose does not change. When we surrender our plans to God and align ourselves with Him, we posture ourselves to receive revelation and partner with Him and His purposes.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT10For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Psalms 37:23 NLT23The lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Matthew 10:30 (The Message)
30 He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head!
Proverbs 16:1-2 MSG
1Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word. 2Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; God probes for what is good.
Psalm 119:68 (ESV)
68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 12:2 (ESV)
2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns.
Ephesians 5:15–17 (NLT)
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Proverbs 19:21 NIV21Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21 MSG
21We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT11Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Our Plans and God’s Purpose
- Revelation and Reality – This has to do with timing.What’s in your hands is what God has planned for today, while what’s in your heart is what God has planned for your future. In Acts, Paul experienced a 25 year gap between a promise and its fulfillment. For our church, God gave the revelation that we were to be called “City Central” in 2004 which prompted us to move downtown into the heart of the city.
Acts 9:15 ESV15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
2. Faithful and Future – This is the space of being equipped, developing skills, growing in humility and character, learning how to pour foundations, building infrastructure. This is living faithfully now with what He’s entrusted with future glory in mind. Faith is rarely a glamorous life. For City Central, this has been 7 years in our current building, faithfully serving Tacoma on 6th Ave.
Luke 16:10 (ESV)
10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
Proverbs 22:29 ESV29Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.
Genesis 22:1-2 NLT1Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” 2“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
Genesis 37:9 NLT9Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!”
Genesis 37:36 NLT36Meanwhile, the Midianite traders arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard.
3. Perseverance and Patience – What’s in your hand requires perseverance. What’s in your heart will require great patience. As we wait on the Lord, He rewards us.
Promises for those that wait on the Lord:
- Reward and Blessing – True waiting is the intent on living His way.
Psalm 37:34 (ESV)
34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
- Renewed Strength and Endurance
Isaiah 40:30–31 (ESV)
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
- Conversational Prayer with Him
Micah 7:7 (ESV)
7 But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Acts 7:23-30 NLT23“One day when Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel. 24He saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. So Moses came to the man’s defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian. 25Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn’t. 26“The next day he visited them again and saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to be a peacemaker. ‘Men,’ he said, ‘you are brothers. Why are you fighting each other?’ 27“But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ he asked. 28‘Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’ 29When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian. There his two sons were born. 30“Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush.
Ecclesiastes 11:5 NLT5Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.
Psalm 62:5 (ESV)
5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
Psalm 62:5 MSG
5God, the one and only—I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life.
Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)
21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
4 Components of God’s Will:
- The What – what God is asking us to do.
- The When – God’s timing.
- The Way – how God wants to accomplish His will.
- The Where – where God will accomplish His will.
- Why is it easy to become focused on our own plans for our lives?
- What role does timing play when we receive revelation from the Lord? Have you ever received a word or promise and had to wait to see its fulfillment?
- Have you ever made an idol of the promise God gave you? How can we guard ourselves from loving the promise more than the promise-giver?
- Pastor Chris said we need perseverance for what’s in our hands and patience for what’s to come. How can we intentionally pursue growth in these areas in our daily walk with Jesus?
- Which of the promises of the Lord (for those who wait) do you want more of: reward and blessing, renewed strength and endurance, or conversational prayer? Determine which you need more of and ask Him for it specifically this week.
- Take time this week to recall a promise or word that God has spoken over your life. Ask Him to give you patience in the waiting for its fulfillment.
- Meditate over Proverbs 16:2-9 this week. Ask the Lord to align you with His purposes and plans for your life.