We’ve been talking about the importance of pursuing God’s plan for our lives. Today, I want to talk about one thing in particular that God has been dealing with me about concerning what He expects from us as we follow His plan for our lives individually. Once we know what that plan is, what are WE to do to fulfill it?
Judging from the way some respond to God when He reveals His plan, I think sometimes Christians have the idea it will come to pass without much of their involvement. They’re just sorta waiting on God to bring His plan to pass sovereignly.
However, the truth is--He’s waiting for us to do our part. His plan is sometimes delayed because we’ve not been trained to cooperate with God in the progression of His plan and are therefore not very good at it.
First, we must know that God has specific paths He has prepared for each of us to take in this life—we’re not to formulate our own plan.
Ephesians 2:10 (AMPC)
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [TAKING PATHS WHICH HE PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME], THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
Thank God we know from this verse where God’s best blessings are—on the paths He’s prepared ahead of time for us!
Hebrews 12:1 (AMPC)
…and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence THE APPOINTED COURSE OF THE RACE THAT IS SET BEFORE US,
To bring us to the point of fulfilling His plan, God has to first bring us the knowledge of what that plan is. We get that knowledge through renewing our minds with the Word and through our prayer life as we shared last week. But, once we’ve sought God and found His plan, that knowledge requires something more from us—a response, so to speak. What is that response? There are many things, but the first thing we must do is acknowledge His plan.
Knowledge vs. Acknowledgment
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
One of the reasons people struggle to fulfill God’s plan is because they don’t acknowledge it. What do I mean?
There’s a difference between having the knowledge of God’s plan and the acknowledgment of it. Knowledge of God's plan is something that a man carries on the inside, but acknowledgment is something that he expresses outwardly. To acknowledge God's plan means to agree with it. In other words, it means to stop denying or ignoring the dealing of God and express recognition of it—conform to it in thinking and actions.
To acknowledge means to admit to something we know full well. For example, acknowledgment is what a mom is going for when she takes her son by the ear, draws him to herself and says, “Look at me…what did I say?” Children and teenagers are terrible at acknowledgment which shows that a lack of acknowledgment is immaturity.
We have many examples in the Word of men who knew what the next part of God’s plan was for their lives but wouldn’t acknowledge it.
For example, Jonah knew of God’s plan for Him to go preach at Nineveh, but He didn’t agree with that plan and set about to follow his own. Jonah would tell you that doing so doesn’t work out well.
When Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, He said, “It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad...” (Acts 9:5 AMPC).
Obviously, God had been dealing with Saul, or Jesus wouldn’t have been able to say he was kicking against those dealings. It wasn’t that Saul didn’t know what God was dealing with him about; it was that he wasn’t acknowledging it. Jesus was telling him that things would turn out badly if he insisted on following the plans of his own choosing.
God isn’t the source of the bad things that happen in men’s lives--men bring those things upon themselves by failing sometimes to acknowledge God’s plan or walk in it. When a man is responsive to the dealings of God and obeys easily, he doesn’t get as many bumps and bruises in life. He lives a more beautiful life with less drama and more peace.
Don’t Know? Or, Don’t Want to Know?
Some people say they don’t know what God’s plan is for their lives. But, in some cases, the only reason they don’t know is because they don’t want to know. I mean, they don’t want to admit to what they really do know—and they know it full well.
When a man matures in acknowledgment, he moves from reluctance to admit to something God is dealing with him about into joyful and grateful agreement with it. True acknowledgment requires humility.
One thing that is required of us to fulfill God’s plan is to renew our minds to what that plan is or to the next part of it. As God’s plan progresses, every new phase requires a new way of thinking and a new set of priorities concerning what we are to give ourselves to. However, a man’s mind is not truly renewed to God’s plan just because he has the knowledge of it. It’s only when that plan is given its proper place of authority to govern his decisions and what he spends his time doing that his mind is truly renewed to God’s plan.
Acknowledgment: The First Step to Fulfilling
Acknowledgment involves what a man says as well.
I’ve had young men sit in my office and tell me about the knowledge they received in prayer concerning God’s plan for their lives, only to find out weeks or months later, they were out telling everyone else about how they are pursuing another path entirely. In talking with them about it, I found out why—they were going to get around to God’s plan later.
When with me, their words revealed they had knowledge of God’s plan, but their words and actions around others revealed a lack of ACKNOWLEDGMENT of God’s plan. There is a difference. Can you see why some struggle—why they aren’t progressing in God’s plan?
Knowledge of God’s plan calls for a different set of priorities concerning what we give ourselves to (Acts 13:2-4). What used to be a priority may not be a priority now at all. When something becomes a priority, that means we must give our attention to that thing first, before other things—not second.
And say to Archippus, TAKE HEED to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, THAT THOU FULFILL IT.
To take heed to something means to give your attention to it—make it a priority. Do something every day to prepare to fulfill the plan God has given you. Otherwise, the daily duties or even distractions of life will consume all your time, and you won’t make progress in the plan of God for your life. And, Satan is a master at keeping people distracted from God’s plan their entire life.
My Acknowledgment and My Lack of It!
When God showed me His plan for my life as a teenager, I engaged that plan early in life and got with it. As people say, "I got with the plan." I laid aside everything else and began preparing myself to fulfill that plan. That’s why in my mid 20’s, people were coming up to me after my services and asking how old I was. They couldn’t believe a man at my young age could be so far along in God’s plan. Why did that happen? I acknowledged the dealings of the Spirit as He guided me into God’s plan for my life and consecrated myself to fulfilling it.
I wasn’t so quick to acknowledge the next part of God’s plan, however. As phase one of my ministry drew to a close, God started dealing with me about pastoring, but I wasn’t interested and wasn’t saying anything about it to anyone. I guess I thought if I ignored it, it would go away. It didn’t!
Just because a man acts like God isn’t saying anything to his heart doesn’t mean He’s not!
I distinctly remember how amazingly terrible every area of my life got. On top of that, I was becoming miserable inside and hard to live with. The Bible tells us that where the Spirit is made Lord, there is liberty (II Corinthians 3:17). The opposite is also true. Where He’s resisted, there’s misery.
I distinctly remember how God dealt with me at a meal with some ministry friends that if I didn’t publicly acknowledge to them His call on my life to pastor, it was going to get severely dangerous to continue in disobedience. Thank God, I obeyed. It was amazing how that simple step of acknowledgment set the next part of God’s plan in motion for our lives and closed the door to the devil.
You see, I knew what the Spirit was saying to me about the next step of His plan, but I wasn’t saying so outwardly—I wasn’t acknowledging it or admitting it. I was ignoring or denying it, thinking maybe it would go away if I didn’t say anything about it. As far as I was concerned, God’s dealings were interrupting my nice little life and the plans I had formulated in my own mind.
We’re Responsible for What We Know
A failure to acknowledge the inner witness often comes from a man not wanting the direction that is coming to be the direction he takes in life. He knows full well what the truth is; he just doesn’t want to admit to it.
The Holy Spirit, many times, passes the knowledge of God on to men’s spirit, but they often don’t want to acknowledge it because their flesh doesn’t agree. They often have the idea I had—if they ignore what God is saying, maybe He’ll just forget about it, and they won’t be responsible for it. But, the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. And, we’re responsible for what we know, not just what we acknowledge.
Responding to the knowledge of God’s plan we carry in our hearts sets that plan in motion. Denying it’s there or ignoring it hinders what God is trying to do. The forward motion of His plan loses momentum.
God Directs Acknowledgment
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Notice that this verse tells us God directs acknowledgment. Sometimes believers wonder why they don’t seem to have any further direction concerning what they know to be God‘s plan for their life, or they struggle to move forward in His plan. But, it’s when we acknowledge what we know that more direction comes.
Brother Hagin said, “When you find someone struggling in their spiritual life, somewhere they have not agreed with God.”
If there is a struggle going on in your life, either spiritually or in your natural life, look to see if you’re agreeing with the will of God. Begin with what He tells us about His will in His Word. Then, He has specific paths for you to take that He wants to speak to you about by His Spirit.
The Foolishness of Struggling to Obey
Here’s another aspect of this idea of acknowledgment that we need to understand. Acknowledgment and agreement implies willingness and easy obedience.
James 3:17 tells us that the wisdom that comes from above is “easy to be intreated.” That phrase in the Greek means to obey easily or without resistance. God is telling us that it’s the wisdom of heaven to obey God without kicking and screaming. Why? It speeds up the manifestation of His blessings! Slow, labored obedience is us calling for a prolonging of our own struggle.
Every parent knows that some children respond quickly to direction and some barely even respond to strong punishment. Those who struggle to respond are proud and more foolish. They delay their own blessings.
The same is true concerning God’s children. Wise men respond to words—just the instructions. Foolish and proud men don’t respond until the devil is beating them up.
Like in the story of Jonah, the flesh and the devil will gang up on you and tell you that you don’t want the will of God. And, they’ll tell you the exact opposite of what the Word says concerning the fact that those who ARE willing and obedient will eat the good of the land. The flesh and the devil will tell you that if you choose God’s will, your life will be hard, unsatisfying, and you won’t enjoy your best life.
The devil is trying to tell you that you don’t want God’s plan. But, since Ephesians 2:10 in the Amplified Classic reveals that on God’s path for our lives is everything good that He has prearranged and made ready for us, it would really be foolishness on our part to formulate a plan of our own choosing and walk in it.
That “Consecration” Word
Part of what we’re talking about when we refer to acknowledging God’s plan for our lives is the issue of consecration.
God’s plan requires our consecration to it, but consecration is not a one and done kind of thing, so to speak. God’s plan for our lives is progressive, which means it has phases to it. So, every new phase of God’s plan calls for a new level of consecration.
Our level of consecration in one phase won’t be sufficient to fulfill the next stage of God’s plan because the flesh and the devil will oppose us on a new level as we take steps of obedience. This is one reason why some only fulfill part of God‘s plan and don’t finish their course.
There may be things that God had not dealt with us about in previous phases of His plan that He will bring up as we progress into a new phase. He knows the devil will use those areas of unconsecration to oppose us on a new level. A wise man will obey the dealings of the Spirit easily so that he keeps the door closed to the devil and progresses without delay into the next part of God’s plan.
Living the Good Life!
Ephesians 2:10 (AMPC) tells us that the good life comes as we take the paths God has prepared for us to take. The reason some people struggle financially or in other areas of life is because, regardless of what their mind may be telling them, God’s provision is not on the path of their own making. It’s on the path that He authored for them. So, when we’re following God’s plan, there is an easy flow of provision, and our faith won’t struggle to receive it.
You have to realize that no plan you could ever formulate for your life will ever come anywhere close to blessing your life to the degree that God’s plan will. And, His blessing will be in every area: your family, your health, favor, finances, length of life, etc. His plan is where fullness comes.
So, be mindful of the fact that when you choose God’s plan over your own, it will affect every area of your life.
And remember, if we’re to live in God’s best blessings, we have to follow His perfect will--not just His acceptable. All of God’s blessings belong to us, but they can’t be received in their fullness when we’re following a path of our own choosing.
SO GO AHEAD, ACKNOWLEDGE THE PLAN OF GOD FOR YOUR LIFE AND CONSECRATE YOURSELF TO FULFILL IT, SO THAT YOU CAN LIVE THE GOOD LIFE GOD HAS IN MIND FOR YOU DOWN HERE ON THIS EARTH!
Written By: Jay Eberly // November 9, 2021
© 2021 Jay Eberly Ministries. All rights reserved.
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