Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
The Bible teaching about making plans is firmly entrenched in the Word of God. Consider God, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26).
That sounds like a plan. Don’t you think? Let’s try it again, “God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea…’” (Genesis 1:27).
That verse sounds like God delegated some work to you and me and expects results. So the question comes, what is a good way for making plans? I will show you seven steps that will launch you to where you want to be.
Step One in Making Plans: Goals
All successful plans start with SMART goals. Goals must be saturated in prayer, be sensitivity to the will of God, and contain good motives (cf. James 1:5-8; 4:3, 13-16; Proverbs 16:2; 21:2). Goals are grounded in the Great Commandments (Mark 12:29-31), and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
Let me expand. Identify your long and short term goals. Write them down. Visualize them. Carefully determine the steps you need to reach them. Set priorities on which step to do first, second, etc.
This is critical: write down the reasons “why” you want to reach the goals. Your reasons become powerful motivators to propel you to achieve goals
It is easy to drop your dreams in the face of discouragement and set backs, and you need something to stay motivated.
Step Two in Making Plans: Present Assessment
The Bible teaching about making plans is to honestly assess your present conditions. Jesus said, “For which one of you when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28; cf. verses 29-32).
Ask questions such as: What is my situation? What are my resources? What is my condition? After you have established your goals, and appraised what you have at hand, you will see a large gap stretching between the two poles.
For example, if you want to be a lawyer, but you have only a high school education and are driving truck – then, there is a large gap between where you are and where you want to be. Your task is to find out how to bridge the gap, and that becomes part of your plan.
Step Three in Making Plans: Identify Barriers
The next step in the Bible teaching about making plans is this: what stands between you and the goal? Write down everything you need to get from where you are to where you want to be. Mentally walk through all the steps. Carefully describe problems that might arise. Determine the barriers.
Those barriers are the problems (link to problem solving) you need to solve. After you come up with a solution to the problem, devise an action plan to get around the barriers. Now you have a route around those obstacles, you have your path to your goal.
For example, what are some barriers looming between you and your becoming a lawyer? Well, one obvious blockade is education. Another might be location to a good college. To get around the first hurdle, you need to figure out how to get the education. To get around the second barricade, you may need to move to a city where there is a college. You get the idea.
Step Four in Making Plans: Take Action
Sometimes our dreams and goals never materialize. We talk them to death, but don’t take action. Plan your work, and then work your plan. The Bible teaching about making plans says, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23).
Step Five in Making Plans: Control
You need some way to determine if your plan is working. One way is to form a budget and financial systems. Some mechanisms and checkpoints must be devised to verify if you are on target to reaching your goal. The principles on time management (link) are good for this phase.
Realize that some of the resources you start with may evaporate, but others will find their way to you. For example, perhaps in the beginning you have a job that will provide you enough money to survive and complete a university degree.
But, suddenly the job goes away. You have lost that resource. On the other hand, you might then qualify for a student scholarship, or loan, or get a new job, which then becomes a new resource for you.
Be prepared to make adjustments. Circumstances change in life. For example, consider the many unforeseen obstacles that Job, David, and Joseph encountered and had to work around.
Step Six in Making Plans: Minimize Risk
The Bible teaching about making plans teaches us to reduce those things that hinder in reaching goals. The writer of Hebrews speaks to this principle, “let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Sticking with my student example, if money is short then cut expenses. If grades go down, spend more time studying than watching TV or playing video games. Sell your car. It may be cheaper to take a bus or car pool (or even walk) to the university. You have cut the cost of petrol, repairs, tires, insurance, and car payments.
Cutting risk, cost, and unproductive tasks will give you a better chance of success.
Step Seven in Making Plans: Maximize Opportunities
The Bible teaching about making plans encourages us to take advantage of new opportunities. Paul spoke to this principle, “Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that” (1 Corinthians 7:21).
Let’s look again at our truck driving student who is studying to become a lawyer. Maybe he has a part time job driving truck, but is offered a job working part time as a clerk in a law office – but for a little less pay. He should take advantage of the opportunity, because of the experience and contacts he will gain. It will help in the long run.
With this Bible teaching about making plans, Esmie and I pray that the seven principles will give you a big boost to reaching your dreams and goals as you fulfill God’s purpose for your life. May God richly bless you.
Dr. Willis and Esmie Newman
BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
1. What will happen if we don’t plan and work hard (Proverbs 20:4; 21:5; 22:13; 24:27; 30-34).
2. What do you learn about perseverance from Proverbs 12:11, 27; 14:23?
3. Read Luke 14:28-32. List and explain as many principles as you can regarding planning. Give examples.
3. Explain the lesson about taking action in Proverbs 6:9-11.
4. Explain the lesson, and give an example, of completing plans in Proverbs 12:27.
5. Explain the lesson regarding making excuses for not planning and working in Proverbs 22:13). Give an example.
6. What does Psalm 127:1, 2 and 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 tell us about success? Explain, and give examples.<br>
7. What does Proverbs 16:1-9 tell us about the ultimate outcome of our plans? Explain. Give one example from your life.
8. What is the ultimate goal of our plans (1 Corinthians 10:31)? Explain how your life can accomplish this.
9. Pick a project you must accomplish within the next six months. Make a plan using the principles in this study, and the other Bible study links embedded in this study.
10. What stood out to you the most in this Bible study? Explain.
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