Sometimes we might wonder why a plan of ours doesn’t turn out as we had hoped. We were careful to think through every step, but it didn’t work. One possible reason is that we foolishly left God out of the plan. Instead of relying on the One who knows everything and has all power, we depended on our own knowledge, understanding, and resources to determine what we wanted to accomplish, where we desired to go, and how we would complete the plan.
An example of this kind of mindset is found in Genesis 11:1-9. After the flood, the Lord had told Noah’s sons, “Be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply on it” (Gen. 9:7). But their descendants gathered on a plain in Shinar and settled there, saying, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:4).
Although God had made it very clear that He wanted mankind to fill the earth, the people at Babel decided to make their own plan, in disregard of the Lord’s instructions. In response to their rebellion, God confused their language so they could no longer communicate with each other and build the tower. As a result, His will was accomplished, and they were scattered abroad over the face of the earth.
If we leave God out of our plans, we can expect these consequences:
We can’t claim God’s promise of provision and protection. He doesn’t give us His assistance and power to accomplish what’s not His will. We can’t honestly ask the Lord for His blessing if we aren’t following Him. The goal is to pray for guidance, not to make up our mind and ask God to bless what we’ve planned. As children of God we belong to Him, and He’s committed to guide and provide for us, but not always in a way that makes immediate sense to us.
The absence of God in our plans limits the possibilities of whatever we do. The Lord’s will for our lives is far more profitable for us than anything we could devise apart from Him. How we make decisions is important because we face choices every day, and the only way to make them according to God’s will is to rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God’s plan is not something we can come up with on our own.
Leaving God out of our plans reveals our pride. We may not think we need the Lord’s direction for a normal day, but that’s really an attitude of personal pride. We should begin every day seeking His guidance for whatever lies ahead and end the day with gratitude for His protection, provision, and direction.
If we don’t seek God’s guidance, we may choose less than He would have provided. We may look at a situation and think we know the best option, but if we wait on the Lord, He may lead us to something better than we would have chosen on our own. To receive God’s best, we must ask for His direction regarding what to do, when to do it, and how to accomplish it.
Sometimes we act as foolishly as the people of Babel when we fail to consider what God would have us do. He is willing to guide our choices and direct us into His will if we will ask Him before we move ahead on our own. His plans for us are so much better than anything we could devise.
When you are making plans, do you ask the Lord for guidance? Don’t make it hard on yourself. Seek God’s guidance first and enjoy the blessings of following Him in obedience.
This article was originally published on September 1, 2017, and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Planning Without God.”