As we mature from teens to adults, our freedom gradually increases. We are given the opportunity to make our own choices about school, work, relationships, jobs, our faith, money, and how we choose to spend our time–just to name a few. Often, our parents continue to advise us, but in the end, the choice is still ours.
What I find interesting, is that sometimes we choose to do the exact opposite of what our parents advised, and we figure out, much to our dismay, that we made the wrong decision. Now, when this happens, does it make sense that we would blame our parents because things didn’t work out the way we expected them to? Absolutely not! We made the wrong choice and we are responsible for the repercussions of our actions. Our parents tried to lead us in the right direction, but we chose the wrong one.
I’ve realized that we often do this with God, as well. God advises and tells us what we ought to do, what He’d like us to do, but in the end, it’s our choice. When we try to follow our own path and things don’t work out, is it God’s fault that things didn’t work out for us? (Hint: Was it our parents’ faults?) We may think we know what’s best for us, but when we refuse to listen to God’s counsel and not trust Him, it’s not His fault when our world is turned upside down, but our own, for relying on ourselves instead of Him.
In the book of Isaiah, God uses Isaiah to tell the people of Israel “‘Woe to the obstinate children,’ declares the Lord, ‘to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin’ (30:1).” In this verse, God is talking about the Israelites and their decision to form an alliance with Egypt for protection against their enemies, but the concept is the same; the Israelites weren’t putting their trust in God to keep them safe, but were forming their own plans.
Proverbs 19:21 states “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” In the end, we may have all these plans for our lives. We may have desires and dreams and goals, but unless they’ve been instilled in us by the Holy Spirit, trying to attain them is going to be impossible! We may try and try and try, but it will be fruitless, because they’re not God’s plan for our lives and His hand won’t be upon us. But He promises that when we put Him first and seek His face and His will for our lives, He will bless us and make us fruitful.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me will all your heart.”