Well, it’s hard to believe that we have arrived at the final day of 2016. Just when I got used to writing 2016 on documents, now, I have to change to 2017 😀
As 2017 approaches, I was thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and planning. Did you know that the Bible teaches about those who plan their time vs. those who do not plan their time? Are you a planner? Have you planned what you want to accomplish in 2017, or, are you one who just goes with the flow? Let’s take a look at the Scriptures and see what we can learn about planning our time.
8 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
In this passage, we discover that God is a planner. He has a purpose in mind and plans all things according to that purpose. A planner is not tossed to and fro by circumstances, instead, he uses the circumstances of every day life to attain his purpose. The only way that he is able to do this is if he has a plan and works according to his plan. As a follower of Christ, I want to learn from God, to be like Him, to plan my daily life according to God’s purposes. In order to do this, I need to know God’s Word, the place where He reveals His purposes. What is God’s purpose? It is spelled out in this passage. God’s wants followers of Jesus Christ to be conformed to the image of Christ. He has planned this out and uses the circumstances of life to attain this goal. How is God going to accomplish this purpose? He has already planned it out. He knows us, calls us, makes us right with Him through Jesus Christ, and then conforms us to the image of Christ until our time on the earth is over and we are glorified. How are you going to be conformed to the image of Christ in 2017? What specific steps are you planning to take? If you are a follower of God, you need to plan how to grow spiritually in 2017.
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion.
This passage teaches us that wisdom dwells with the one who plans. Prudence, in the original Hebrew, literally means one who is crafty in thought or advice. A crafty person is a person who ponders things and plans them out in advance. A wise person is a person who plans, who sits and thinks about actions and outcomes. The word discretion could be translated “purpose”. In order to plan, a wise person needs to have a goal, a purpose in mind. This is what we learned in Romans 8. The opposite of this would be a foolish person is not a thinker, is not a planner. A foolish person does not have a goal in mind and does not plan his steps to attain that goal. He just goes with the flow. According to the Word of God, if you do not plan with a goal in mind and then act according to that goal, you are not a wise person. What kind of person do you want to be in 2017? Do you want to prove to be a wise person? Or, do you want to continue on as you always have and be labeled a fool by God, Himself?
“He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.”
Another characteristic of a truly wise person is the fact that not only does he plan his time with an end goal in mind, he also works according to that plan, doing things at the proper time. In every activity, in order to have maximum benefits, things must be done at the proper time. In agriculture, things must be done at the proper time. If you plant during the harvest, you are not going to raise a crop. If you try and plan during the winter, again, you will put forth much effort but you will not have positive results. In order to achieve benefits, you have to do thing correctly, at the right time. You will end up working more, and harder with fewer benefits if you do things at the wrong time. This is why planning is so important. You have to plan to plant at the proper time and then follow that plan. You have to care for the crops as they grow. This has to be planned out in advance so that you can be at the right place at the proper time. The same is true with the harvest. If you work hard to plan and grow the crops but do not plan on being there for the harvest, all of your work is done in vain. After you plan for 2017, you need to work according to that plan and not be lazy at any point. Wise people plan and then work according to their plan. Foolish people usually do not plan, but, there are some who plan well but then do not work according to the plan. God warns us that this will lead us to shame, if we do not work according to our plans.
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.”
The final thing that I would like to point out in our study on planning for 2017 is the fact that when we plan and are diligent in carry out that plan, we will reap the benefits. If you plan your spiritual growth, if you plan out how you will serve the Lord in 2017 by serving the people around you then you will be successful. Write out your plans, work according to those plans, and then review then at the end of 2017 and see how much you were able to accomplish. In my own personal experience, when I do this, I end up accomplishing way more than what I actually planned. The opposite effect is also true. When you do not plan with an end goal in mind, when you do not work diligently according to your plan then two things will happen. The fist thing is that you will still work, but, you will work in a hasty manner. You and the people around you will be agitated and become discouraged and probably even disgruntled. You will have results but they will not be positive ones. In this text, poverty is the result. Maybe not necessarily physical poverty but definitely, you will experience spiritual poverty, which, in my opinion, is much worse than physical poverty. What kind of 2017 would you like to have? God gives you the opportunity to choose the outcome. If you want to be successful in the spiritual realm, He has placed everything that you need at your disposal. All you need to do is trust in Him, plan with His end goal in mind, work according to that plan, and then reap the benefits. This is my main New Year’s Resolution for 2017!!!