I once held a training for pastors from different churches in our city focused on getting more churchgoers into smaller discipleship groups or classes. During that training one pastor challenged my teaching, saying that if God ordains people to follow Him, He will do so in his way and not ours.
We think that because God has a plan to prosper us and give us a hope and future that we shouldn't set up plans of our own. On the other hand, it doesn't mean that all plans and strategies we are working on are good and from the Lord. Even the devil has schemes against us and against God. Sometimes a plan or strategy might not be of God and we should learn to discern whether it is or is not. Here are three questions to ask yourself when you're trying to work out whether a plan is the will of God or just your own idea.
Am I Seeking God's Plans First?
The key is to be discerning of God's will and ways at all times so that we make sure our plans align with God's. Matthew 6:33 tells us, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."
God's will is always for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28) so there is little to no reason to not seek it first. Just as much as we want the best for ourselves, so does God. Moreover, He seeks for the good not only of us as individuals but of everyone around us as well. He has a bigger and better plan than we do, but are we being sensitive to seek God and His plan first?
Have I Laid Down My Own Plans?
Proverbs 19:21 tells us, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand." More than our own plans, we need God's but often we limit God's plans because we are unwilling to lay down our own plans, or we try to bend our plans into being 'God's plan'.
Our own heart's desires can become the biggest block to experiencing God's plan and check whether a plan is truly God's or just our own.
Is My Mind Renewed?
Unless the mind is renewed, our calling and God's will will always remain unclear. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Beyond just plans and strategy, we need our minds to be rebooted by the Holy Spirit and brought to a point where we unlearn things that conflict with God's ways and learn to be more sensitive to Him.