Part 1: God is a Planner

With 2022 coming to a close, 2023 is now visible on the horizon. A new year ushers in gym membership discounts, a new semester at school, and a new quarter at work, all of which point to a fresh start. This is a natural time for us to create new “resolutions,” or press the reset button on old ones. We all (hopefully) have aims, aspirations, and desires for 2023; but the question is, how much time and effort will we invest in planning for and taking thoughtful steps towards accomplishing our aims? Here’s another way to say it: We all want to see things happen in our life, but how much time do we spend working on our life? 

To some, the issue of planning may sound like a temporal, unspiritual, or even secular topic. The reality is that the Bible as a whole, and Proverbs in particular is replete with exhortations and instructions on planning. Far from being temporal and unspiritual, planning is biblical, spiritual, and godly. 

The issue is this: God is a generous giver, and he has given you and I all that we have. Our resources, capacities, capabilities, bodies, families, relationships, opportunities, dollars, and time are all given by God. Our job is to be faithful stewards of what he has given us. 

Biblical planning helps us to not just responsively work in our lives, but proactively work on our lives. Biblical planning provides a framework for what we say ‘yes’ to, and what we say ‘no’ to. Biblical planning helps us formulate a vision for life; it provides a roadmap (written in pencil to be sure) for living out our convictions and accomplishing our aims and goals. Biblical planning enables us to be faithful stewards. 

We will begin the first part of this series by laying a theological foundation of planning and we will do so by looking to the original planner - God himself. 


     Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. -Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)

    “I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. -Job 42:2 (ESV)


We worship and serve a God who makes plans. In Genesis 1 God creates all that is - the heavens, earth, and everything on the earth. God also creates man in his image and likeness, and lays out a plan for them, 

“And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” -Genesis 1:28 (ESV)

God’s plan for the man and the woman was for their health, joy, fruit, and flourishing. In Genesis 3 however, the man and the women were deceived by the serpent, disobeyed and rebelled against God, and as a result, sin entered the world. At this point, it might seem as though Satan had won and God’s plan was foiled, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In the midst of fear, shame, and disgrace, God pronounces a promise of hope: 

[15] I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” -Genesis 3:15 (ESV)

Yes, sin has entered the world resulting in devastation, death, and disconnect between God and man. Yet, none of this was surprising to God but was in fact, part of God’s plan. Genesis 3:15 reveals to us that one day, a deliverer will come to crush the serpent, deal with sin, conquer death, and redeem fallen men and women. This promised savior is Jesus, who would one day come to accomplish God’s plan of redeeming fallen man. The rest of the bible is the unfolding of this plan, culminating in the person and work of Jesus, his life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension,  

[God] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. -Ephesians 1:9–10 (ESV)


Not only did God plan redemption in general, but He planned each believer’s salvation individually. The Apostle Paul assures us of this reality: “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,” (Eph. 1:4-5, ESV). 

As a Christian you need to know that your salvation was carefully and lovingly planned; God knew you and chose you before creation. Jesus didn’t come rolling the dice and hoping for the best. Instead, he asserts with confidence that “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out,” (Jn. 6:37 ESV). Jesus could say this, because he knew his Father had a plan to rescue fallen people, and he was sent to accomplish that plan. His mission was not a gamble, nor was it nebulous or impersonal, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day,” (Jn. 6:40 ESV). He came to save lost individuals; he came to save you and me. 

God’s love is not reckless or random; he chose in eternity past who He would save, and in real time he is pursuing, intervening, and lovingly changing hearts, all according to His perfect plan


While we are saved by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ, we know that we are saved to good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10 ESV). God has specific plans for you; plans to build his kingdom, worship his name,  love and serve his church, and pursue lost people with the gospel. 

Some of the biggest ministry opportunities we have had at Union Church have been a total surprise. We didn’t expect them, and couldn’t have planned them, but God did. God knows each work he has planned for us, long before we ever do. He often opens doors and provides opportunities that we would never expect, and yet, sometimes these unplanned opportunities are the greatest opportunities.

This does not mean that we should do nothing until we hear some sort of audible call from God. Instead, we should actively pursue opportunities to serve and build. But like a child going to work with dad, we trust that God is ultimately the one in charge - our job is to be faithful.


“In him we have obtained an inheritance… In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. -Ephesians 1:11a, 13-14 ESV

As God’s adopted kids, our inheritance, heavenly home, eternal joy and life with God and his people is planned and secured by God himself - sealed for the day of redemption, never to be broken or stolen. This means that even in the turmoil, pain, and sorrow of our fallen world, even in despair and doubt, we have unshakeable hope of everlasting peace, prosperity, and joy with and in God, because he who promised is faithful. 

Our redemption, salvation, good works, and future hope is planned by God, and secured in Christ.  May we remember, rejoice in, and be encouraged by God’s good plans. May we rest securely in them, and seek to align ourselves with them. 

With the biblical foundations being laid, we will turn next to some practical considerations on planning from Proverbs. Check in next week for Part 2, “Foolish Planning.” 

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