Finding God’s Plan
“Lord what wilt Thou have me do?” —Acts 9:6
One of the most wonderful truths revealed in the Bible is the truth that God has a perfect plan for the life of every one of His children. Just as an architect prepares an accurate and detailed drawing for each new building that is erected under his guidance and instruction, so God, our gracious and our loving Heavenly Father has a perfect, a detailed, and an accurate plan for the life of every Christian. This truth is emphasized and illustrated over and over again in the Word of God, but nowhere is it more clearly brought before us than in the brief conversation that took place on the Damascus road when the Lord apprehended Saul of Tarsus. At the very moment of his meeting with the Risen Saviour, Saul asked the question, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” Did Saul’s conversion just “happen” by “chance,” or was it according to a divine plan and purpose? Acts 9:15 give us the answer; it all took place “according to plan”—God’s plan. And God has a plan for your life and for mine. How may we know that plan? First, let us emphasize that:
(1) God has a plan for the life of every one of His children.
When we pause and think about this it seems almost too wonderful to be true, but consider the following strong reasons for believing that it is true:
1. It is reasonable to expect it. God is a God of order and of method. If we are building a house or making a dress, we work according to a plan or a design. It is unreasonable to think that God, who is our Father, our Guide, and our Lord, does not have a design for the pathway of those of us who are His children?
2. It is according to experience. See what we read about Abraham, in Hebrews 11:8-10; Moses, Hebrews 11:24-27; David in 1 Chronicles 17:7; Isaiah, in Isaiah 6:8; Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 1:5-8; and Paul, in Acts 9:15. These are only a few examples of God’s plan and purpose in the lives of individuals.
3. God’s Word teaches it. One of the most wonderful statements in the New Testament is found in Ephesians 2:10. After reading this verse look up Psalms 27:11; 37:23; 73:24; 143:8; and then compare Proverbs 3:6; 15:19; 16:3; Isaiah 30:21; and James 1:5. Could there be any doubt about the fact that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for the life of every one of His children?
(2) God’s plan has three very important characteristics.
The Scriptures tell us three facts about God’s plan for our life:
1. It is a personal plan. Notice the personal pronouns in Acts 9:4 and in Acts 9:6 — “thou” and “me.” There is no one else in the world like you, and therefore God’s plan for you is unique, personal — just for you! He has purpose to fulfil in and with your life that cannot be fulfilled in and with the life of any other person.
2. It is a perfect plan. In Romans 12:2, (which should only be read in conjunction with Romans 12:1), we are told that the will of God, or God’s plan and purpose, in the lives of His children, is good and acceptable and perfect. Ponder these three words, for they are full of a very wonderful significance.
3. It is a practicable plan. In other words, it is workable and thoroughly related to everyday living and service. It is not a plan that only sounds good and acceptable and perfect theoretically; it proves to be good and acceptable and perfect in actual, down-to-earth, day-by-day experience!
(3) Our first concern should be to discover God’s plan for our life.
This is obvious, but it is sadly true that some Christians fail to discover God’s plan for their lives, and in consequence their days, weeks, months and years are filled with disappointment, defeat, frustration and failure. How very wonderful it is to feel that we are achieving something really worthwhile, and to know that we are doing it not for ourselves, but for, and in accordance with, the will of our loving Heavenly Father! Every unconverted person is living a self-planned life, as was Saul up until the time of his conversion — see Acts 9:5; but it is also sadly true that many Christians plan their own lives. We make decisions and choices which afterwards prove to be wrong —compare John 21:3. There is nothing greater or more comforting than to know that we are in the centre of God’s will, and every one of us can know just that. But notice the next point:
(4) We enter God’s plan when we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
Saul entered the plan of God when he said — Acts 9:6. The Lord Jesus revealed Himself to Saul, saying, “I am Jesus…” — i.e., Saviour. This is not to say that God was not interested in Saul and watching over him prior to his conversion, but His purpose for this man was an eternal purpose. It is true to say that Paul entered into the plan of God only when he bowed at the feet of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus, and accepted Him as his Saviour and acknowledged Him as his Lord. Have you come to this point in Christian experience? If so, notice the next thing:
(5) We continue in God’s plan by daily obedience to His revealed will.
He has the whole plan of our life in front of Him, but He reveals it only a bit at a time. He reveals the plan progressively, step by step — look up Psalms 37:23, and compare Isaiah 46:9-10. The human condition that has to be met, if we are to know God’s will increasingly and if we are to move along the line of God’s will constantly, is complete submission to Him and a strong desire to obey Him. All this is indicated in Saul’s great question — Acts 9:6. This inquiry as to what God’s will is, with a view to discovering it and doing it, involves four things:
1. Communion with Him in prayer. A suitable prayer is recorded in Psalm 27:11. It is when we know what it is to go regularly into the secret place that the Lord graciously reveals His plan to us step by step.
2. Studying and searching His Word. How wonderfully all the saints of God have been led as they have read and submitted their lives to the commands and the guidance of the Word of God! (Psalm 119:105).
3. Prompt and unquestioning obedience. God reveals His will to us when we obey Him — look up 1 Samuel 15:22. A very good key verse to underline is John 2:5.
4. Complete and implicit trust. Rarely can we trace God’s working in our lives, for we are living by faith and not by sight. This means that we have to trust Him. The Lord spoke of Saul as “a chosen vessel,” and Saul had to trust the Lord in all that He permitted in his life, in the way of sufferings, privations, stonings, imprisonments, etc., (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). God’s plan includes His permission of life’s testings and trials (1 Peter 4:12-13, 19).
(6) God’s plan for our life is an eternal one.
Perhaps you have arrived at this last point in our study and you are saying, “What a thrilling theme for young people who have the whole of their lives before them!” But it is a thrilling theme also for the most aged Christian, for all who belong to the Lord have a glorious eternity before them. God’s plan has an earthly part and a heavenly part. The earthly part is like the foundation of a building, and the heavenly part can be likened to the structure of the building. We are apt to have a very limited conception of God’s plan. A Christian dies at the age of 30 or 40, and we say, “What a tragedy!” —and so it is, from earth’s limited viewpoint. But God’s loving plan for His children is an eternal plan.
As you conclude this study look up 1 John 2:17, and compare 2 Timothy 4:7-8.
— Reprinted from Loizeaux Brothers
“Help & Food,” February 1963.