Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What’s the Source of Your Plan?

“Trust that your soul has a plan, and even if you can’t see it completely know that everything will unfold as it is meant to…” – Deepak Chopra

That’s an interesting statement.  The Bible tells us God is in control and everything will go as planned.  If we don’t pay close attention, we can miss that Chopra actually removes God from the equation.  Remember Matthew 17:20 from our last post?  It reads, “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. “.  Very little faith in God can move mountains.  Are we willing to put that kind of faith in our own soul?

I can't speak for anyone else, but I know my own history.  There was a season when I removed God from the equation of the way I lived.  From 20/20 hindsight, I can easily conclude that trusting myself was not the wisest thing I ever did.  There were a number of decisions that had poor results.  Maybe not initially, but long term results were not what they should have been.  And that brings up its own set of questions.

If I were reading this, I think my first question would be how I concluded that past decisions were wrong.  There were actually several characteristics of those decisions.
  1. The decisions were usually made based on expected short term results, with little thought to long term effects.  Or vice versa.
  2. The decisions were often made quickly, with little thought about my lack of expertise to make the decision or my limited capabilities to see what the results might be.
  3. The decisions were made with little thought to how it would affect others or any relationship with God.
  4. The decisions were made without considering whether I could be trusted to make right decisions.
That's the result of trusting my soul.  Yes, there were some good decisions, but a lot were based on immediate pleasure as the outcome -- something that didn't always bode well for others or for what I would experience in the long term.  I know others have made lots of decisions that led to comfortable, stable lives on planet earth.  But those decisions often left out the eternal, so those were no better than some of the ones I made in the past.

We read in Romans 1:19-20 (KJV), "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;".  Nature itself has been used by God to give us testimony of His existence, beauty, and greatness.  Enough so that other cultures and religions may have latched onto the wrong concept of God, but they recognized that God exists and that there is something after our brief existence here.

There's a universality to seeking God.  Except when first world complexities get in the way of recognizing what's being shown us, because it isn't done with blinking neon sign flashiness.  Without God, our souls tend to enthrone self and ignore what their callousness refuses to recognize.  So, what happens when we include God in our lives and decision making?
  1. Decisions include both short term and long term possibilities in the decision.  God is omniscient.
  2. The omniscience of God eliminates any lack of expertise on our part.
  3. We know God loves us -- all of us, not just a few.  It's the sin that God hates, not the sinner.  That love is going to direct us toward decisions that benefit more than just us and will enhance our relationship with Him.
  4. Guidance from God gives us a complete package of that love and omniscience, plus His omnipotence.  Which gives us a fully trustworthy source of decision making.
It's good to remember that when we decide for ourselves, we focus on the immediate and on our comfortability.  God's guidance in our decisions gives us the chance to see the big picture -- how our thinking affects others, our relationships with God and others, and our own lives.

There are reports in the Bible of voices coming out of the clouds, angels of the Lord, and burning bushes.  Modern reports of similar instances all seem to focus on the recipient rather than glorifying the source of the message.  So, I tend to discount much of that, today.  Instead, I believe we get much of our guidance from His Word and sometimes from that still small voice.  

Look at 1 Kings 19:11-13: "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:  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"

I'm with Elijah.  There may not be discernable words, but God gives us a sense of whether a decision is off base or is right on.  And then backs that up with Scripture for confirmation.  Or just uses the Word to direct our focus, without that still small voice.  And, yes, if we get too far in the wrong direction, He may decide to use a spectacular, "over the top" approach to get our attention.

When we begin everything with a foundation of God and that small mustard seed of faith, we head in the right direction.  Remember that, left to its natural course, a mustard seed grows into a huge tree, strong in the storm.  Imagine what our mustard seed can become, with God directing our steps!  How's your mustard seed doing?

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