“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT)
You’ve likely heard the cliché: “If you’re failing to plan, you’re planning to fail.” The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” These words of Jeremiah were written “to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.”
God basically instructed Jeremiah to tell those who had been exiled to make the best of it. Build houses, marry and have children, continue to live the best life you can, because you’re going to be there for 70 years. But then, I’ll bring you back to Jerusalem.
Where are you in this season of your life? Do you feel like you’ve been exiled by God to a place, a job, a marriage, a physical, emotional, or mental state, a season in your life when you just feel lost, alone, forgotten? Sometimes life sucks and there seems to be very little we can do about it. Try as we might things don’t improve; in our mind and heart they just keep getting worse. Do you feel like God has abandoned or forsaken you?
Sometimes our best plan is to kneel at the feet of our Savior and seek Him with all our heart. If He’d not allowed me to go through times when I felt alone, I may never have realized there’s never a second of my life when I’m not desperate for His presence.
We’re so prone to run on autopilot when everything seems to be going well, but the truth is, we’re just as needy for the Lord when we’ve got everything as when we have nothing. If we only desire Him in times of struggle, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Jesus isn’t our “genie in the bottle,” He’s our Lord, Master, Ruler, Redeemer, Savior, and Friend. When we plan our life around trips and vacations and work commitments with no regard to what His desires for us are, we shortchange ourselves and miss the joy of moment-by-moment communion with the Lover of our soul. Jesus isn’t our “ticket” to heaven, He’s “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).
If you’re just hanging out with Jesus for what you hope to get out of Him, you’re going to be grossly disappointed. You’re not only going to miss heaven, but you’re also going to miss knowing the Treasure of this life and the next. If you miss Jesus, you miss everything. Heaven is nothing without intimacy with Him, and if you’re not enjoying closeness with Him now, what makes you think you’d all of a sudden want it after you die?
God no doubt has plans for you, good plans, enjoyable plans, but if you see your future void of a meaningful relationship with the Lord, you’ll miss them because you’ll be looking in all the wrong places. So, back to the original question – Are you planning to fail? You are if your plans don’t include knowing, loving, serving, enjoying, sharing, and celebrating Jesus with every ounce of your being.
If you’re not developing and practicing daily disciplines like reading and studying the Bible; praying throughout your day, not only for yourself and those close to you, but for your brothers and sisters across the world who are struggling in ways we as Americans can’t imagine; worshipping with people who love Jesus and love you; and meeting regularly with others who are building their lives around their love for Jesus, then you’re definitely planning to fail.
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊