Life sometimes requires us to start anew, as in the case of a divorce or a move. Other times, we just have a tug at our heart, knowing we need to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.
My husband and I recently made the decision to redo the landscaping at our home. It took a lot of prep work to make that decision. We needed to agree we wanted to stay in our home and not move. Next came researching landscaping companies, followed by contacting the finalists, settling on a plan and price, signing an agreement, and submitting a down-payment.
You see, our landscaping was over 25 years old. It looked aged and worn, and we wanted a new look—one that involved fewer straggly bushes and less maintenance. Basically, we were tired of the same old thing!
The laborious work began this week.
We watched the crew not just “prune” our yard, but remove every evidence of the last 25 years of growth.
It wasn’t sad to us, because we hoped “the future” look would be better. Okay, it might have been sad to our neighbors when they saw the landscapers demolish the beautiful crepe myrtle that adorned our neighborhood.
But then arose the destruction—as trenches were dug a water pipe burst, then our Internet cable was severed. An emergency call to the water district, a three-hour wait to connect to AT&T, and disruption of my husband’s work-related Zoom call seemed quite problematic. Why? Because we were not anticipating any dire consequences from our well-thought-out plans.
As a believer, we face many decisions in life. We decide what ministries to be involved in, what church to attend, who to marry, what job to take, where to live, and more.
Just as there were steps in deciding to redo our landscaping, there are steps and choices to make in our spiritual life.
While we have the personal liberty to choose God’s plan or not, our lives are best lived in the presence of God’s will and direction. He is our strength and support in this life and the life to come.
Why is it important to know God’s plan?
It is important to know God’s plan because the Lord is the best person capable of running our lives. The Bible tells us multiple times that God knows our future. When we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are positioned to receive His blessings. When we are following His will by trusting and obeying Him, we can have confidence He hears our prayers and is working things out for our greatest benefit. God will not hide His will from us if we sincerely seek Him.
For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all. (Psalm 139:4)
Every good thing [is] given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:30-33
You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:33
My husband and I don’t like yard work. In starting over from square one, we are trying to simplify our life by eliminating trees, bushes, and foliage in our yard. By removing unwanted debris, there will be more room for light to shine into our home—along with a simpler austerity.
In our Christian walk, sometimes we need to make decisions to move on, clear out our clutter, and/or change our priorities. Hopefully, when we do, our walk with the Lord will deepen and mature us to become more Christlike.
The “method to our madness” in discovering His plans entail making decisions by seeking Him, looking at options, and developing a sense of His guidance.
What are the steps to discover His plan?
- Ask God for His wisdom and understanding (James 1:5-6);
- Desire to follow His will. [That comes when we are repentant and obedient to His already established will in the Bible] (Psalm 51:2-3);
- Pray and meditate. [Do not make any decisions that have not been prayed over] (Philippians 4:6-7);
- Look for providential circumstances. [But recognize that circumstances and/or feelings alone should not be the deciding factor] (James 1:17);
- Talk to godly friends, confidants, or elders at your church for guidance (Proverbs 15:22);
- Rest and wait patiently in God through the power of the Holy Spirit (Psalms 27:14);
- Ask yourself if you have peace about your decision (Psalms 29:11);
- Understand that God’s will might involve some suffering (Romans 8:18);
- Recognize that if you have done these steps and are still unsure of His will, but a decision must be made, go with the best choice you can make (Romans 8:28);
- If you find you have made a “mistake,” keep trusting in the Lord to work everything out (Proverbs 3:5-6).
As I write this, our landscaping feat is not complete. Actually, we are deep in the midst of a huge mess.
However, I hope our decision to bulldoze all our greenery turns out to be the right one. Our expectation is to have an attractive and easy-to-keep-up-with yard. But, if it doesn’t, we still have a God who loves us and wants the best in our lives.
If you feel the need to start over, seek Him first. Be obedient. Follow His lead. And trust that He always knows what is best for us. And, don’t be afraid of a change!
Praying the Scripture
Dear heavenly Father,
If I lack wisdom, I am asking You who gives generously without reproach to all who ask for it, because You have said in Your Word that it will be given. I am asking in faith without any doubting because Your Word says, “one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”
Wash thoroughly from me my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Help me not to be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, I am letting my requests, concerns, and upcoming decisions ascend to You. And Your peace, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.
I know that every good thing is given, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from You–the Father of lights. Give me wise counsel so my plans are not frustrated, because I know that with many counselors I will succeed. Give me the ability to wait on You for all plans and decisions that I need to make. Make me strong and let my heart take courage. Yes, let me wait for Your answers. I know You give strength to Your people, and that You will bless me with peace.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to me. And I know that You cause all things to work together for good to those who love You, to those who are called according to Your purpose, and that includes me. I want to trust in You, Lord with all my heart, and not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I want to acknowledge you. I know You will make my paths straight and my decisions honorable to You.
I believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Edited by E. Johnson
Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)
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