If the Lord Wills. . .
It is right that
we make plans as we seek to carry out the will of God
in our life. While we
must not be anxious or worry about the future (Matt. 6:25-34),
yet we may properly look to the future and take steps
in a predetermined direction (Rom. 1:13-15; 15:22-29; Acts
19:21; 1 Cor. 16:1-9; 1 Thess. 2:18; Tit. 3:12; Phile.
Scripture, therefore, does
not condone a complacent, careless, or haphazard attitude
toward life. It cannot be rightfully
used to justify a spirit of indifference toward our
future days on earth. Christ Himself walked through life
to God's "predetermined plan." He knew His
purpose for coming to earth and was intent on carrying
out this divine
mission (cf. Luke 4:43; Mark 1:38). We, too, should walk
in His steps by going through life with our eyes fixed
eternal goal to which we journey.
As we make both small and large plans
through life, we must always take into account that God may
have something else in mind for us. All of our plans must
be subject to the will of God. Although Christ our Lord was
infallible in His understanding the plan of God for His earthly
life, we cannot say the same about our understanding. Although
we can know that it is always God's will that we obey Him
and His directives, we may not know the specifics of
how to plan for the future. In all of these areas, we must
subject our plans to the approval and direction of God who
knows what is best for us. The apostle Paul is an excellent
example for us in this regard. He often made tentative
plans--but many of his plans (as well as his wishes and desires)
were not fulfilled. God chose to change some of them or alter
them in some way (cf. Acts 16:6-10). Paul learned to subject
his will and his plans to God. We must do the same.
It would be edifying for us to notice
some of the Scriptural statements that indicate a subjection
to the will of the Lord. You may find it helpful to look up
the statements in their original context. Hopefully this will
help you to make plans (for tomorrow, next week, next year,
or beyond) according to the will of God. A verbal acknowledgement
of this may well be in order on occasion.
- "And when they asked him to stay
for a longer time, he did not consent, but taking
leave of them
and saying, 'I will return to you again if God wills,'
he set sail from Ephesus" (Acts 18:20-21).
- "And since he would not be persuaded,
we fell silent, remarking, 'The will of the
Lord be done!'" (Acts 21:14).
- ". . . always in my prayers making
request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I
may succeed in coming to you" (Rom. 1:10).
- ". . . I may come to you in joy by
the will of God and find refreshing rest
in your company" (Rom. 15:32).
- "I will come to you soon, if
the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not
the words of those who are arrogant, but their power" (1
- "I do not wish to see you now
just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for
if the Lord permits" (1 Cor.
- "And this we shall do, if God
permits" (Heb. 6:3).
- "Instead, you ought to say, 'If
the Lord wills, we shall live and also do
this or that'" (James 4:15).
- "It is better, if God should
will it so, that you suffer for doing what
is right rather than for doing what is wrong" (1
Let us begin to acknowledge the will
of the Lord wherever we are, whatever we do, and whatever
we say. Besides acknowledging God's will in each of our own
decisions, this submissive attitude may give opportunity to
speak to others about yielding their own life to the will