Written by: Nico Bougas
Article source: JOY! Magazine
As Saul made his way on the road to Damascus, he had one purpose in mind. He wanted to stop this ‘mushrooming’ sect that had been spawned by Jesus of Nazareth. The purity of the Jewish religion was at stake. He was determined to wipe it out and put a stop to it. He was on a murderous rampage. But all this came to a sudden halt when he came face to face with the great transformer. He encountered the real Jesus. His world was turned upside down and soon he was saying, “What will you have me do Lord?” God had a definite plan and purpose for his life. He has a plan and purpose for every one of His children. God is a God of order and method. From the smallest atom to the largest planet, God is in the details. There is nothing too small or too big for God.
When we look through the characters of scripture, we find that God had a plan for each individual:
• Abraham was called to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going, but God had a plan for his life. He looked forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
• God had His hand on Moses when he was rescued from the river and brought up in Pharaoh’s household. When he grew up he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and refused the treasures of Egypt. God used him to lead the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt to the Promised Land.
• God had a plan for David when He took him from tending sheep in the pasture and made him a mighty warrior and Israel’s greatest king.
• He said to Jeremiah, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” – Jer 1:5-8.
• He said to Ananias of the Apostle Paul, “Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.” – Acts 9:15
God will lead you
It is the clear teaching of scripture that God has a plan and purpose for us. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” – Eph 2:10. As we trust in the Lord with all our hearts, commit our ways to Him and acknowledge Him, then He will direct our paths and our plans will succeed. He promises to instruct us and teach us in the way that we should go, and to guide us in His perfect plan for our lives.
God’s personal plan
God has a personal plan for your life. He knows all about you He says that the very hairs of your head are all numbered. There is no one else in the world like you, and therefore God’s plan for you is unique and personal – just for you! He has a purpose to fulfil in your life that which cannot be fulfilled in the life of any other person.
God’s perfect plan
God has mapped out a roadmap for your life that is good, pleasing, and perfect. It may include dips and valleys, and times of trial and testing – but ultimately it is a perfect plan designed to bring the very best out of you. As Job said, “He knows the way that I take and when He has tried me I will come forth as gold.” – Job 23.10
God’s practical plan
It is not some ‘pie in the sky’ religious theory that doesn’t relate to the modern day world. Wherever you go, Jesus has already been there. He has faced the worst that the world could present Him with, and still emerged sinless and all-powerful. He has conquered life and conquered death. He will help you navigate through your personal forest and valley and guide you each step of the way.
Wherever you go, Jesus has already been there. He suffered for our sake.
You need to discover God’s plan for your life
It is sad to see people whose lives are empty, defeated and frustrated. There is no room for God. Their lives are without any purpose or plan. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. As believers, we have an obligation to pursue God’s plan for our lives. He promises to lead us along a perfect path for our lives and to instruct us and teach us in the way we should go.
Be in the world, but not of it
We are faced with all sorts of pressures and temptations in the world. The Bible warns us, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” – 1 John 2:15-16. There is nothing greater or more comforting than to know that we are in the centre of God’s will, and every one of us can know just that.
We start with Jesus as our Lord
The opportunity to follow God’s plan for our lives begins when we accept and acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. For Paul, this began on the Damascus road when he encountered the real Jesus. Jesus can change lives and bring about a new direction and plan for our lives.
Everyone can be changed
In the early days of the Cape colony, there was a Khoi desperado named Afrikaner. He was such a notorious, hardened character that the Cape Governor offered 500 pounds for him, dead or alive. He and his men were the terror of the region. When Robert Moffat went as a missionary to Afrikaner’s tribe, the people of Cape Town never expected to see him alive again. They told him that Afrikaner would use his skull as a drinking cup. Trusting in God, the brave missionary preached the Gospel to these primitive people. His first convert was Afrikaner. Later, Moffat took him to Cape Town with him. When the Governor saw the savage changed into a humble Christian man, he said, “What a miracle! This is the eighth wonder of the world.”
Paul would have understood this for he said, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” – 2 Cor 5:17
God promises to instruct us and teach us in the way that we should go.
We continue by a daily submission to Him
God has a plan for your life and mine. But He does not give us the complete picture. Rather, He reveals His plan one step at a time. “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” – Ps 37:23. In order for us to know and understand His plan and purpose, there has to be a complete submission and a strong desire on our part to obey His will. It requires us to do four things:
1. Communion with Him in prayer. A person can be equipped with great gifts of oratory, organisation, and vision – but if he fails to make prayer a priority, he will never be greatly used by God. It is when we regularly spend time with God in prayer that He is able to show us His plan for us, step by step.
2. Studying and searching His Word. The Bible is more than just a theological workbook. It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It is alive and powerful. God promises to use His word to instruct us and teach us in the way that we should go.
3. Prompt and unquestioning obedience. Life is like a game of draughts. You make a move and then God makes a move. God reveals His will as we obey Him, and as Samuel said, “to obey is better than sacrifice.” After Saul’s dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, he had to go into the city before the Lord told him the next step He wanted him to take.
4. Complete and implicit trust. We walk by faith and not by sight. This means that we have to trust Him. The Lord chose Saul to be “a chosen instrument”, and Saul had to trust Him in all that He permitted in his life – sufferings, privations, stonings, imprisonments. We should not be surprised to encounter difficulties in life, as Peter said, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13
Jesus can change lives and bring about a new direction and plan.
God’s plan is an eternal one
This may seem like a great prospect for young people who have their whole lives before them. But it is equally promising for the older believers who can look forward to a glorious eternity. Our lives on earth are but a tiny fraction of eternity. We get so caught up with this world and its attractions. But in the light of eternity this is just a very small part. “And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” – 1 John 2:17
Fight the good fight
When Paul reached the final stretch of his earthly life he could say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return.” – 2 Tim 4:7-8
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