Monday, March 31, 2014

My plan or God's? .................... Parables 099

“This week is going to be different. I am going to set some goals and get something done...” 

And from that point on, the whole world seems to go haywire: interruptions, unexpected circumstances, pressures, choices; together they carve out a big chunk from well-laid plans and nothing happens according to what was hoped. What was your week like. Plodding along or never a dull moment? If it was like mine, you might wonder if planning has any value at all!

But the unexpected is not unusual -- it is part of life. We try to get a handle on management of it and sometimes do, but most of the time the unexpected is to be expected. Some thrive on it but many people do not like changes because, unless we can comfortably keep our heads stuck in the sand, change forces us to change. 

One favorite verse concerning circumstances is Romans 8:28: “God works all things together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose...” 

Those who know this promise cling to it when life turns upside-down yet the thoughtful reader should go on to the next verse which states just exactly what God has in mind when He says that He “works all things for good” in a Christian’s life. Verse 29 says “... for those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son...” 

“All things” are purposed by God for change... change from what we are like to what He is like -- and that is very good! That makes change not merely vital to our Christian experience but it is our destiny. (See I John 3:1-3). 

Once a great sculptor began work on a huge piece of marble, intending to carve a magnificent horse. When asked how he knew what to carve from the piece and what to leave, he said, “That’s easy. I just take off everything that doesn’t look like a horse.” 

And that is just what God is doing in the lives of those who love Him -- carving away everything that is not like Jesus Christ... using, along with His Word, all events of life like a chisel to carve and conform us. he intends to remove chucks of selfishness, pride, and rebellion, breaking them away and leaving the pure beauty of the living Christ for all to see. 

Why does it work? Simply because each trial, each pressure-situation, calls from us a response. Will it be the typical human one of resistance to change, resentment and bitterness? Or will it be in obedience to the One who lives within us and desires to make Himself visible in all we say and do? When I make plans and they are changed by circumstances outside of my control, it is not always easy to remember the purposes God has in “all things.” But when I think about this promise and cooperate with the Master sculptor, the pain of change changes to the excitement of a transformed life. His promise concerning what He will do if I yield to His sculpting tool becomes a far better plan than those of my own making. 

It is not that prayerful planning and time-management are a waste; neither is taking time to attend to interruptions. What is wasteful is failing to yield to the hand of God, the Sovereign Sculptor of my destiny.

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