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If you have ever been in church circles or hung out with people of faith long enough you have probably heard the phrase, “God has a wonderful plan for your life.” Last week, I authored an article titled The Romans Road, and in it showed how God’s plan for salvation is laid out in the book of Romans. In that article, I also cautioned people about expecting an easy life after coming to accept Jesus as King in your life. In fact, the opposite is often true - life gets harder, but this does not mean that a wonderful plan does not await you.
Biblical stories are frequented by tales of victory and defeat, poverty and wealth, health and sickness, and life and death (spiritual and physical). Every story in the Bible has a lesson for each of us and we would do well to heed them. One lesson we can quickly learn is that the way life treats us is not an indicator of our status with Christ. A family who has great wealth and a measure of comfort does not mean God has blessed them or that He has not. Equally, a life of poverty also does not mean God is in judgement of that person in some way, or that they do not know Jesus. Your life is yours to walk in faithful obedience to God. That walk looks different, for everyone, and we should never compare our walks as a way of measuring our ultimate destination.
Let us look at a simple comparison.
In Mark 10:17, a rich man is talking to Jesus and asks how he may inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him he must not murder, commit adultery, bear false witness, or steal. After calling Jesus only a teacher, he says he has kept these commandments. Jesus then addresses the heart of the man by saying he must sell all he owns and give it to the poor. The lesson here is not that we are all called to sell all we have and give to the poor, but that this man worshipped his wealth as a replacement for God and refused to give it up. It is never a matter of your material status in life; only a matter of what you value over God. You may be wealthy and never called to give up that wealth and instead use that wealth as a blessing to others. Others might be called to give up everything. All that matters is how you respond to God’s leading.
To complete the comparison, let us move further right in the Bible and read Hebrews Chapter 11. This is called the faith chapter. What we read in this chapter are stories of victory but not the kind many would expect. We read of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab. Every person suffered, was tested, and sinned, and all were rewarded for their faith in different ways.
Hebrews 11:32-35 lists other names and that each through faith “conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.”
These are the stories of victory that we can easily understand.
But verses 36-40 are different, and they challenge our concept of success and victory. “36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Emphasis Mine)
What is God’s Plan for You?
Through prayer, only you can truly know God’s plan for you on Earth. However, your station in life does not determine your destination. Only by accepting Christ is your destination certain. Please do not measure your material wealth or poverty, your health or illness, or anything else material or physical as a guidepost to determine where you stand with Christ. Avoid pastors who teach that a life of faith means fame, wealth, fancy cars, houses, perfect health, or a life of ease. God’s Word teaches us the opposite could be true for you or me.
Only walk the walk God has for you wherever it may lead.
Verse 40 above is the answer. God’s wonderful plan for your life is what happens when you physically die and join Him where you will “be made perfect.”
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Thank You for posting a Biblically balanced perspective on this topic! I hope many will carefully consider the Scripture you have cited in your comments.
Picturing Jesus with an image turns Jesus into an idol separate from His diety. That's a violation of God's 2nd commandment. Church councils long ago affirmed that Jesus can't be separated.
Perfect advice, Thank you!