Yesterday I kicked off a new series here at Illumination Church, a series that we’re calling “next”. It’s a collection of thoughts about how we process and plan out our futures and what’s next in our lives.
As the year draws to a close, people are faced with the inevitable question of “what’s next?” Attentions quickly turn toward the next calendar year and planning begins – a calendar packed full of our hopes and dreams; a calendar that tells an incredible story about what matters most to us.
What I found as I processed how people plan is really quite alarming, even tragic…
Most people make have a propensity toward making plans for what’s “next” in their lives based on their desire – family vacations, finances & potential purchases, job situations, adding a new or another child to the family, school, sports, band, etc., etc., etc. You get the picture…and when they’re done planning things out, THEN they ask God to ‘bless’ their plans without ever once considering and or consulting God (prayer, reading, meditation, counsel), on His will for their lives.
In my message yesterday I shared my heart on this matter, which is:
When planning what’s next in our lives, we have to learn to align our desires with God’s will!
In Deuteronomy, chapter 31, there is a conversation that Moses has with the nation of Israel, which he has been responsible for, advocating on behalf of, and leading for 40 years. It’s about what’s “next” for the nation.
First, Moses instructs the Israelites to recommit their lives to God. This is a people with good intentions that lost sight of God’s intentions. Moses both reminded them of the covenant commitment between God and the nation of Israel as well as implored them to return to God.
Next, Moses goes on to share 8 promises from God regarding what was next for the nation of Israel, including:
- Moses won’t lead the people into the promised land
- The LORD will cross over the Jordan River ahead of the Israelites
- God will destroy the nations inhabiting the promised land
- The Israelites will take possession of the land God promised
- Joshua will lead the nation of Israel across the Jordan River into the land
- God will hand those inhabiting the promised land over to the Israelites
- God will not fail or abandon the Israelites
- God will personally be with the nation of Israel
You can read the whole passage here.
What I love most about his passage of Scripture is how Moses aligns his desires with God’s will!
There he (Moses) is. He’s on the top of the mountain overlooking the Jordan River and CAN SEE THE PROMISED LAND! He’s right there. Everything that he has given his life toward over the last 40 years is right in front of his face. All he has to do is book it for the river, take dip in the Jordan River, and he’s there.
Instead, Moses aligns his desires with God’s will, however difficult it may have been, and surrenders what’s “next” in his life and for the nation of Israel over to God. He takes his free will and makes it obedient to God’s plans and promises. Moses doesn’t make his plans and then ask God to somehow or another ‘bless’ them. No! Instead, he fully surrenders his predeterminations and trades them in for God’s promises.
I don’t know about you, but that would be incredibly difficult to do. Yet this is EXACTLY what we’re called to do. Each one of us in our own right; though our circumstances look different than Moses’ did from the mountain where he was standing, each of us must make the decision to align our desires with God’s will and fully surrender to what He has before us.
Is it always easy? Nope! Is it always what we want? Huh-uh!
That said, I would rather have ONE God idea than a thousand good ideas. My good ideas will perish; they’re like a vapor or a mist. But God…His will…it’s eternal!
So let me ask you. What desire(s) do you need to align with God’s will in your life today?
Here’s a great place to start:
- Ask God to reveal HIS will
- Don’t make plans or react until you feel confident that what you’re hearing is aligning with the will of God. You will ALWAYS know God’s will through His Word (reading the Bible), and through prayer, and through listening, and through wise counsel.
“I leave you with what James shared in the early church:13 Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’ 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.”
James 4:13-16 (NLT)