Welcome to “Java for Life.” I am your online barista. Allow me to fix you a devotional drink about the Christian life. Today’s cup is an Almond Latte about a new year’s resolution. This is that time of the year when everyone seems to be inspired to make a decision to improve one’s life. Well, let’s consider a new resolution to improve our understanding of God and how He works in our lives.
As you know, all these java devotions are brewed with that main ingredient that God has a greater purpose for your life. It has been the whip cream added to the top of every almond latte. In fact, the inspiration comes from Proverbs 16:9 where King Solomon declares,
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Well, we looked at this theme verse several times last year. And now in this new year, let’s look at it again with fresh insight.
Let’s start by confirming that it is proper for you to plan your steps. There is no criticism here of this important obligation on your part to plan the new year. And so, students should sharpen their academic goals. Career people should take out their calendars and strategically plan. Churches must set clear vision and purpose statements. And all of us should make clear our material and spiritual goals. But, we are just confirming this truth, since it was made clear in several of last year’s devotions.
And now as we move forward into the future, the second part of this verse becomes the new insight for us. It says: but the LORD establishes his steps. This means that God has the final say about our future steps in this new year. And that is not a bad thing. And so, today’s latte inspiration is about acknowledging this profound truth. And after it is acknowledged, we should find peace by accepting it.
And this is very important for our spiritual health, because the opposite response would very unhealthy. Think about it. The opposite reaction could be disappointment, discouragement, anger, and depression. And unfortunately, this opposite reaction is the common reaction to the changes in our plans. So, it becomes important and urgent in the new year that we adopt a better perspective about the relationship between our plans and God’s establishment.
Now, this better perspective does not make our future plans any clearer. But this resolution does make our relationship with God much more clear. That we should do our part to plan our steps, and then accept that God will establish our steps with greater things. And this dynamic of working and trusting will add to the peace in the new year.
This will be a peace that passes all understanding. But it’s a peace that is established in faith in the One who always has a greater plan for us. And this peace will over-ride the sense of frustration and even depression when our plans do not work out as we expected. To be honest, the fact that God is working in our lives towards a greater purpose means that our plans will never work out the way we expect. It’s that simple.
You may have heard that funny saying, “Do you want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans!” People chuckle when they hear this joke and humorously accept that that’s how it is when we make plans in the sight of a laughing God. But this is far from the truth. It’s not that God laughs as if to simply dismiss our plans. It’s more about God loving us to give us more than our plans. And so, God does not laugh; instead God loves.
If you are meeting in a small group, you can pause to share your experience of this dynamic of executing your plans and God’s establishment of His will for your life. What have you learned about God’s work in your life? What are your exciting plans for this new year? How active have you been in making new plans? How do you think God will answer your prayers for your plans? Pray for each other about these plans.
As we enter a new year together, let’s make a new year’s resolution. let’s pray about Proverbs 16:9 by praying both parts of this verse. Pray the first part by praying, “Father God, please bless the plans I have made for this new year.” Then pray the second part by praying, “Father, I acknowledge your greater plan for my life. And so, I give you thanks. Give me the faith and strength to accept this greater purpose for my life.”