24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Jesus told His disciples that they would have to take up their cross to follow Him. He made this statement prior to His death. Death by crucifixion was a horrible thing and we can only imagine their reaction to His statement.
Many churches have reinvented themselves to be less confrontational and more accepting. Services are designed to be “seeker friendly” with a goal of making visitors feel comfortable.
God paid a tremendous price for our redemption. He sent His only son to the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Why would we not in turn be willing to pay whatever price is necessary to pursue His plan and purpose for our lives?
Christianity was never meant to be comfortable. Jesus was never hesitant to confront people when it was necessary. Our hesitation to follow His example may result in the person we’re trying to make comfortable leaving this earth to spend an eternity in hell!
Finding the plan of God will require us to pay a price. Jesus did not choose the comfortable path and as a result was able to secure our redemption. The price paid to take up our cross to follow Him will never be as great as the price He paid for our salvation!
I think that one of the greatest hindrances in our quest to find the will of God is the erroneous teaching that God is in control. This is a religious doctrine that states nothing will happen in our life that He does not allow.
We have a neighbor who attends a church that follows this doctrine. Her husband became ill several years ago and she called my wife requesting prayer. The prognosis was not good and our neighbor was obviously distraught.
My wife took note that she kept telling God had placed this illness on her beloved husband. We could not help but wonder why she was calling for prayer if she really believed this! If God had caused him to contract the illness then wouldn’t it mean they were trying to get out of His will by seeking healing?
We do not have room to explore this doctrine fully here but it does need mentioning as this has become a barrier in many people’s search to find the plan of God. Many people are no longer attending church as a result of being told that God took a loved one or caused an accident in their life.
Human beings are not wind up dolls with no choice to choose the path we walk. There are ministers who paint a picture of God winding our spring as tightly as possible and then dropping us on the earth to muddle through life enduring everything He puts in our path.
God has given each of us a freewill. The choice to walk in His plan or not to walk in it is left to us. He will never force us onto the path we are ordained to walk.
The plan for our lives was developed long before any of us took our first breath (Jeremiah 1:5). This plan is as unique as we are and no person has an identical plan to another’s.
Every talent and ability needed to fulfill the plan of God was placed inside of our spirit prior to our birth. Some talents will be evident as we grow but others need discovering. This will happen as we develop spiritually and grow in the things of God.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of spending time every day in prayer and meditating on God’s Word. Many people struggle with finding the plan of God because they are seeking it rather than the author of it!
The Bible is where we first encounter God’s voice. It contains sixty-six books written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. We will not succeed in our quest to find the plan of God if we are not spending time giving careful and considerate thought to God’s written word.
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
1 Kings 19:11-12
There are millions of Christians who struggle in their walk with God as a result of not being able to recognize His voice. People fast, pray, and cry out to Him for hours on end with little results. He does not speak to us through our natural senses. He communicates through our spirit in a still small voice that may be as subtle as a gentle nudge to go left instead of right.
It is important for us to realize that God is speaking to us through His Holy Spirit. This is not the issue. Instead it is whether we have trained ourselves to look inward and listen with our spiritual ears. His direction will always be in line with His Word. The more familiar we are with the written Word; the more familiar we will be with His voice within us.
One way that the Holy Spirit will lead us is through peace. We are not guaranteed to live without struggle or trials but His peace will be with us in the midst of them!
There will be times that we feel unfulfilled even though we are walking the path God has called us to walk. It will be almost as if we are completely dissatisfied with everything and unable to find satisfaction from any accomplishment. Dissatisfaction with our current position is often a way the Holy Spirit leads. We become settled and this is usually the catalyst used to get us moving forward in the plan of God!
God has not called us to live the way the world around us lives. We must not allow ourselves to fall into a rut and become comfortable with the daily routine. Unfortunately, the majority would define “normal” as following the same routine as what the crowd is following. Christians are called to stand out from the crowd!
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
No human being has ever lived that was not known to God before they were conceived. You and I are not accidents and are living at the exact moment in time planned for us to walk this planet!
The psalmist tells us that we were known by God, that He planned out our days on earth, and that He wrote this plan in His book. The gifts and talents needed to accomplish it were placed in us prior to our birth.
Can you imagine what it would be like to have just a glance at that book? It contains the plan for every human life that will ever exist on this planet! We cannot even begin to imagine the love He must have for us.
God created the universe. He sustains humanity His Word (Jeremiah 15:16) and upholds creation with it (Hebrews 1:3). Our minds cannot begin to comprehend what His schedule must be like! Even more amazing though is the fact that He loved us enough to take the time to formulate a plan for each one of our lives.
Teachers and parents will tell children that they can become anything they want to become. Self-help authors encourage their followers that any goal can be achieved with enough focus. Human beings have an amazing ability within themselves to accomplish great things. While this is true, none of us will ever reach our full potential outside of the plan of God.
I have said that focus is a major key needed to unlock the plan of God. We will need to be focused on the things of God and there will be a price to pay on this journey. Those who are willing will find that the Holy Spirit will paint the vision of God’s plan on the canvas of their heart as they wait in His presence.
It will require us to put in a little of the proverbial elbow grease to find God’s plan. Prayer and continuous daily meditation in God’s Word are musts. This will take time but those who are willing are the ones who will fulfill the plan of God and enter into their full reward at the end of their natural lives. Each one of us has a freewill and it is our choice of whether we will pursue what God has called us to accomplish or whether we will not.
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