Planning for the Future

Text: Proverbs 16:9

If we are going to be pleasing to God, there are two critical factors – God’s instructions and our decisions. We must know what God desires us to do, then we must decide to do it. At the turn of every new year, many make resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. This lesson focuses on some passages from Proverbs that discuss planning for the future. As we move forward in the new year, we want to be sure we are acting with wisdom.

We Are Responsible for Our Plans

  • The mind of man plans his way” (Proverbs 16:9) – each of us must plan for our own future (Proverbs 16:1); we cannot pass off this responsibility to others
  • This is not to say that we do not submit to those in authority (cf. Ephesians 5:22; 6:1, 5; Hebrews 13:17) – however, submitting to authority does not mean we take no thought for the future and just wait for others to tell us what we should do
  • If we are going to do the will of God, improve ourselves, etc., it is up to us to plan to do so

We Must Plan with God’s Will in Mind

  • Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3) – we must be committed to serving God in all that we do
  • Our plans may change, but His will does not (Proverbs 19:21) – His word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89)
  • We must do everything by His authority (Colossians 3:17) – good intentions are not sufficient (Matthew 7:21-23)

We Should Seek Counsel from Others

  • Prepare plans by consultation” (Proverbs 20:18) – it is good to seek counsel/advice from others
  • None of us have all of the answers – we can benefit from others (Proverbs 27:17)
  • However, we need to be sure we have the right counselors (Proverbs 13:20; cf. 1 Kings 12:1-15)

Evil Plans Turn God and Man Against Us

  • Evil plans are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 15:26) – one thing that the Lord hates (Proverbs 6:18); God knows our hearts (Hebrews 4:13); nothing is hidden from Him
  • While our standing before God must be our primary concern, evil plans also affect how others see us
  • One who plans to do evil, men will call a schemer” (Proverbs 24:8) – develop a bad reputation; difficult to influence others for good when we have a reputation for evil (Proverbs 18:19; cf. Acts 9:26)

Planning Alone is Not Enough

  • A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out” (Proverbs 20:5) – plans are useless if we do not act to carry out our plans
  • If we have understanding, we will recognize this – we cannot just talk about what we plan to do (Proverbs 14:23)
  • Related to the connection between faith and works (James 2:14-18) – thoughts must lead to actions

We Must Be Diligent to Carry Out Our Plans

  • The plans of the diligent surely lead to advantage” (Proverbs 21:5) – again, it is not enough just to plan; we must act
  • This does not mean we can act half-heartedly – we must be diligent (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Proverbs 10:4)
  • We cannot take shortcuts (Proverbs 21:5) – do things the right way (cf. 2 Timothy 2:5)

Conclusion

  • As we make plans for the future, let us do so with wisdom
  • We must do this so that we can please the Lord in all that we do

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