- Any and everything that you’ll ever do falls into one of three categories: What you want to do, what you need to do and what you were meant to do.
- According to a recent Gallup poll , 71% of employees don’t like their job. That means that almost three quarters of the adults that are getting up every Monday morning to go to work would rather be anywhere else other than the workplace. Oftentimes these adults are dragging into work not just because they don’t like what they do, but because they’re not actively pursuing their dream – what they want to do, what they were meant to do. They’ve given up because they feel like they don’t have the time or the energy.
- If you want to avoid feeling as though you’re doing nothing other than meeting deadlines and living from one paycheck to the next, you’ve got to have a plan. And you need to have a plan for all three categories of “to-do’s.” What you need to do, what you want to do and what you were meant to do.
- Having a plan is not just about being organized, it’s Biblical in that you’re being wise with your time and you’re positioning yourself in a place that allows you to be more productive and more enthused about life in general.
I) Making A Difference and Not Just an Appearance
Having a “life plan” is important in that you want to ensure that you’re not simply honoring deadlines and keeping appointments. Rather, you have a direction, you have a goal, you’re not simply treading water. And when you put a plan together, you’re ensuring that those things that are the real priorities in your life aren’t being overwhelmed by the never ending list of fires that supposedly need to be put out right now.
Ephesians 2:10 says:
God did not put us on the planet to simply make a profit or an appearance, He put us here to make a difference and this verse captures the essence of what we were meant to do.
II) Being Responsible
In addition, there are bills to pay; there are obligations that need to be satisfied and the Bible addresses those as well. Paul addresses the need to be responsible in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. (2 Thess 3:6-15)
There is always work that needs to be done and while it’s not always exciting, it is nevertheless necessary and being responsible is part of being obedient to God.
III) Living The Dream
Finally, there are things you want to do. These are often consistent with the way God has gifted you with certain abilities and passions. You’ve been given certain spiritual gifts like what are referenced in Romans 12:6-8 and in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11/a>. You also have God-given abilities like what you see in Exodus 35:30-35 which documents how two gentlemen were given the ability to craft things out of precious metals, bronze and wood. And not only that, but it says that God gave them the ability to teach others.
The thing that makes these skills so appealing is that when you use them, there’s a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that’s superior to most any other “job” that you might be tasked with. These are the kinds of things that you enjoy doing – which you would do even if you weren’t getting paid. And it’s these God-given abilities that often represent the skill set you’ll deploy in the accomplishment of God’s Purpose through you. This collection of appointed tasks represents the “What You Were Meant to Do” category.
IV) Defeating the Distractions
But you have a host of distractions to contend with that threaten to undermine your success and efficiency. However tangible or normal they appear, they are physical manifestations of the spiritual warfare described in Ephesians 6:12:
Bear in mind that this isn’t you and I being overly spiritual or especially philosophical. It’s simply acknowledging that achieving anything – be it profound or commonplace – isn’t automatic. If you want to hit a home run, you’ve got to swing the bat. It takes effort, it requires organization, it necessitates diligence.
Consider the following verses:
Organization / Strategic Planning…
Proverbs 20:18 says “Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.” In other words, have a plan. You’re not going to attempt anything of significance that doesn’t warrant a plan. Without taking the time to consider the road ahead, you’re like the fool described in Proverbs 22:3 where it says, “The wise see danger ahead and avoid it, but fools keep going and get into trouble.”
So have a plan! Be able to state what it is you’re trying to do in all three areas of your life: What you need to do, what you want to do and what you’re meant to do. You can break it up however you want, but don’t allow yourself to be content with the idea of simply getting through the day and / or successfully paying your bills this month. If you do that, you’re limiting yourself to a perspective that accommodates producing but not necessarily prospering.
IV) The Difference Between a Good Plan and a God Plan
Michael Hyatt has authored a book entitled “Creating Your Personal Life Plan.” It’s a great way to jump start the needful articulation of your plan in every major area of your life.
But there’s one thing that you need to keep in mind as you formulate your plan: Your plan needs to enthusiastically embrace the fact that God’s Plan and your plan are not always the same. And when those inconsistencies are revealed, you need to retool your plan and ensure it’s aligned with what God has purposed for that particular area of your life.
Proverbs 19:21 says:
Does that mean that you and should hesitate at putting a plan together, thinking that if there’s a chance that God’s going to change it, our efforts are inconsequential?
Not at all!
While God’s Purposes are immutable, He has allowed for a human element to be present which can, and often does, affect the way in which those Purposes are accomplished. For example, God told Abraham in Genesis 12 that his descendants would constitute a great nation and they would inhabit the land of the Canaanites (Gen 12:2, 6-7). Generations later, that Purpose would be fulfilled, but because the Israelites chose to doubt and rebel rather than trust and obey, the conquest of the Promised Land was delayed for a period of 40 years worth of wandering through the desert as a consequence of their rebellion (Num 14:34).
In a similar way, you and I have the option of realizing God’s Purpose for our lives either by obeying and avoiding the consequences of sinful detours, or we can allow ourselves to be distracted and contend with the laborious process of getting back on track.
It’s like what Paul says in 1 Corinthians: Run in such a way as to get the prize (see 1 Cor 9:24):
The “prize” is an illustration that Paul uses here in First Corinthians as well as in Philippians and he uses a similar word picture in First Timothy. In short, it is simply anything that falls under the heading of those things gained as a result of being obedient to God. In the most profound sense, it is being welcomed into God’s Presence when your life on earth is through (see 2 Tim 4:8). It also refers to those rewards you receive having done a great job in the accomplishment of the tasks God gave you to do (see 1 Cor 3:12). And it’s in the context of those “good works” that you want to put your best foot forward – you want to plan and you want be diligent.
What do you need to do? What do you want to do and what are you meant to do? Think about it. Pray about it and when you’re able to satisfactorily answer those questions, put a plan together and review it weekly. Stay on track, make sure you’re keeping the lines of communication open between you and your Heavenly Father and stick to the plan. And remember, your agenda is not the priority. To truly knock it out of the park, you want to make sure that your plan is consistent with God’s plan because it’s when you make promoting Him your goal that you are able to enjoy the kind of fulfillment that resonates not just in this life, but also in the one to come. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps 37:4).
Let’s go make a difference!