Fundamentals Of Finding God’s Plan Part 21

Many times it is nothing more than impatience that is holding us back from unlocking the plan of God. It takes time to prepare ourselves to receive what God has planned for our lives and this will require us to develop patience.

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Luke 9:23

Spiritual preparation requires time and will not always be a comfortable process. It will require us to place our selfish desires on the cross. This is the process Jesus spoke of when mentioning the need to take up our cross daily. 

Old-timers used to talk of the need to “die to self”. For the most part, this concept has fallen from our thinking today. We prefer services to be comfortable and non-confrontational. This is not the model of Christianity demonstrated by Jesus or the disciples. 

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34

I have heard ministers speak of Jesus’ message as being focused on love and acceptance. We do not see this in the Gospel account as recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Instead, his messages seemed to be focused on repentance.

I recognize that repentance is not a comfortable message. It requires us to come face to face with our fleshly desires that lead to sin. This is a message that will usually not be found in our “seeker-friendly” church service that is focused on making people as comfortable as is possible.

The message for today seems to be that it is time for Christians to stop compromising the truth in pursuit of personal comforts. Jesus never meant for churches to be places to be entertained. He has called us to repent and preach the message of God’s kingdom.

It grieves my heart that so many services feel more like a secular concert than a time of worship. It seems that we’ve lost our reverence for the things of God and take them for granted. For the most part, it seems that most Christians have little appreciation for the amazing gift God has given us in redemption.

Preachers are often treated like rock stars today. Many ministers travel with personal assistants who stand ready twenty-four hours a day to tend to their every need. The best seats are reserved for them at conferences and it is not uncommon for the size of the ministry to determine who gets the best seats in these sections.

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19

Every Christian has been called to the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation is a restoration to favor. The ministry of reconciliation is the ministry of announcing to the world that Jesus has opened the door for us to be restored to a relationship with God.

For the most part, ministers are recognized today based on their employment status. Most ministerial associations now require a minister to have reached full-time status before joining. Sections for ministers at conferences are reserved for full-time ministers and it is extremely rare for those who have to maintain secular employment for support to even be recognized as having a ministry.

16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Matthew 20:16

To unlock the plan of God, we must come to a place of complete submission. This will require us to sacrifice personal goals or plans for His. In other words, we will have to die to our self-nature.

The goal of ministry is to lift the name of Jesus. It is not to make a name for ourselves. I believe in the message of prosperity but not in the way it is often taught today. 

God will supply our needs and take care of us. Scripture teaches this very clearly. He does not expect His ministers to be living from paycheck to paycheck regardless of whether they are full-time or need to maintain a secular job.

13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

Galatians 1:13-19

We have become very skilled at making converts but struggle with making disciples. This goes back to our discussion about the need for patience to unlock the plan of God. Disciple-making takes time and requires patience.

Preparing the ground of our hearts will require a commitment of time for prayer and meditation in God’s Word. This is a time where we will be hidden away from God. 

Paul was used by God to write nearly two-thirds of the New Testament. He had been taught by some of the best teachers in Judaism before converting to Christianity. If anyone would have been in a position to run out and win the world I think it would have been him. The Holy Spirit did not agree and led Paul into Arabia where he was hidden from sight for three years preparing to walk in the plan God had for his life. 

The Holy Spirit knows the condition of our hearts. He knows what is needed to prepare us for the plan God desires for us to walk in. If we will yield to Him, He will guide us through the process of preparing our hearts to receive a revelation of the plan of God. 

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