We hear a lot about ‘God’s Plan’ as though He has a specific plan for each of our lives. I’m sure you’ve heard phrases like: “God has a plan for your life” and “You need to find out what God’s plan is for you.” You may have even said: “It was God’s plan.” While it is always appropriate to thank God for the good in our lives, was it a result of His plan or His blessing on our efforts?
God created this natural realm to function with many beginnings and endings, even with “good and evil” (productive and destructive) processes. (a) [see endnotes for scripture] He births us into this earthly life as His offspring, to begin developing our conscious awareness. This is where we begin our developing growth. So, what is God’s plan for your life? God must have had a purpose for each of us.
Plans Or Thoughts
We often hear the quote: “For I know the plans I have for you…declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (b) This quote comes from the NASB translation. The Hebrew word translated ‘plans’ actually means: thoughts, calculations, intentions, and purpose. The NASB translated it correctly nineteen other times as ‘thoughts’.
I bet you didn’t know the King James Version (KJV) does not even contain the common English word ‘plan’ or ‘plans’ in either the Old or New Testaments. The above verse in the KJV reads: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (destructive), to give you an expected end (a finishing).
This verse does not speak of a detailed plan, blueprint or map for us to discover. Certainly, God has only good thoughts, intentions, and desires for us and for our future. While God gives each of us innate talents to use in whatever profession or line of work we choose, He does not plan for us to be a doctor, farmer, or engineer. We are free to make these choices.
Surely we can all agree The Creator of the natural universe must have had a reason and purpose for creating this world and birthing us into this life. If there is a greater reason for living, what is it? What is God’s purpose or the goal we can seek and aim to discover?
God has only good thoughts, intentions, and desires for us and for our future.
Formed In His Image
In Scripture’s first mention of mankind God announced His purpose for each of us. He said we are designed to be His “image and likeness.” (c) This phrase comes from Hebrew words that mean: reflect and resemble. God has designed and intends for us to be expressive reflections and resemblances of Him as offspring. We are intended to develop as His children. (d)
It is helpful to realize our created purpose includes the process of design, making, and forming. While God created Adam and Eve with purposeful potential, (e) it was their actions that verified their purpose was not complete. Since the first two, we were all conceived, birthed, and developed through growth processes. As with all children, maturity comes through developmental growth.
We are all born into this life with a deposit of our heavenly Father’s Spirit, “the spirit/breath of life,” with the potential of developing as His children. God intends for us to be reflections and resemblances of His Character, Attitude, and Personality (CAP). Our life involves more than physical activity; it’s about forming and developing our conscious mind, will and emotion. (f)
We mature into God’s intention by absorbing features of His CAP. Scripture says God seeks to produce these fruitful results in us: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (g) A caution is necessary: We are not created to be “like” or “as” God but offspring that grow and develop as children. (h)
To clarify our purpose, God illustrated His image and likeness in a human life. As our example, Jesus reflectively resembled God by saying and doing what he sensed the Father was saying and doing. (i) Jesus even prayed that we be as he was– people in the earth who hear and follow God’s insightful guidance. (j) We have a very specific ‘purpose’ and goal, not a detailed ‘plan’. (k)
We have a very specific ‘purpose’ and goal, not a detailed ‘plan’.
Some people believe we live and make our way through this good and evil (productive and destructive) life and just pass away like all things natural. God gives us, as offspring, the freedom to decide how soon we respond and to what degree we follow His insightful guidance. As we personally interact with our heavenly Father, we become better expressions of His heart.
We have no control over many factors in life such as our parents, heritage, the society we are born into, or the historical time frame we live in. And yet, the choices we make concerning what we are given make a big difference. The way we relate to God and one another is ultimately based on the values and qualities we adapt as our own. How Christ-like are they?
There are many stages in our development which begin in the restrictions of a mother’s womb. When released from the womb we grow from infancy into adolescence and eventually adulthood. We even assist in the birth and growth of more extensions of God’s family. However, our purpose for living is more than the process.
We are designed to live and improve during this life’s process. This allows us to work through all the gory and glorious details of “working out our salvation.” (l) While at times we act and do better than previous days, each day we arise to become better.
As children, our choices and goals should support our intended purpose of maturing into better expressions of our heavenly Father’s nature. This is achieved through our interactive fellowships with God and with one another. It is helpful to realize that when we pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” (m) we are asking God to open our consciousness to His guiding presence, to “hear and receive” so we can move in agreement with His guidance. This is active faith!
God’s purpose for our life is not a meticulous plan that requires our adherence for fulfillment nor is it a someday futuristic event. On the contrary! Our real purpose in this life is to interact with God’s insightful presence, as Adam and Eve originally did, (n) so we mature more appropriately.
May we give ourselves to God’s declared purpose of becoming mature reflective resemblances of His heart!
Our real purpose in this life is to interact with God’s insightful presence.
a) Genesis 2:9; b) Jeremiah 29:11; c) Genesis 1:27; d) Acts 17:22-29; John 1:12; e) Genesis 1:26; f) Galatians 4:19; g) Galatians 5:22; h) Genesis 3:4-5; i) John 5:19; Matthew 26:39; j) John 13:15; 17:24; k) Ephesians 4:12-16; l) Philippians 2:12; m) Matthew 6:9-10; n) Genesis 3:8