“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:1-3
January 2019; another New Year! It is always funny to me how this time of year makes everyone reflect, re-evaluate and set goals. Whether we have had a good year or a bad year, we make grand plans in the hopes of a fresh start. This is exciting, but a word of caution. It is very easy to get swept up in the worldly way of “living your best life” and “being your best self”, but it is fleeting to run with the flow of the world, trying to build yourself up just for worldly gain. It is good to have hopes and desires and to set goals, but we should be mindful to remember whose glory we are seeking. Are we aiming for our glory or His? Our best self is found at the feet of Jesus. That is where all hope, freedom, and joy abound!
Proverbs 16:1-3 gives us three things to remember and to guide us in this new year. First, our plans belong to God. They are indeed our plans, our thoughts and ambitions, but the answer to them comes from the Lord. God has built us with working minds; he wants us to dream and to plan, but we must remember he is the one who can ultimately bring them to fruition. A helpful illustration is that of a father and his child. The child may come home from school everyday and plan on going to the park, but it is the father who has the final say in going. Our Heavenly Father cares for us in a similar way, much more than we can fathom. His answer to our plans is never out of anger, but out of love. We must remember this especially when his answer is not what we wanted to hear, which leads us to verse two.
Our second reminder is that we have a habit of only seeing the benefits of our plans, but God knows our true intentions and our true outcome. God knows our thoughts and desires; He delights in our hopes and plans. More than that, He wants us to come to Him and share them with Him, But we are short sighted. When verse two says God “weighs the spirit” it means He is examining our frame of mind. Why do we want these things? Why is this so important to us? Nothing is hidden from the Lord, knowing that, we must also remember that just as He sees our present intentions clearly, He also sees our best outcomes clearly. This is where we may not match up with what God sees. The question is then, will we trust the Lord with our hopes and plans, will we trust that He has only good for us and knows what is best for us?
Finally, verse three calls us to decide what to do with our plans. We are told “Commit your work the LORD and your plans will be established.” The word “commit” used here literally means to roll over on, to lay down or to put your full weight onto. This verse is not saying if you do good works for the Lord He will give you what you want. It is saying to lay your whole life down at the feet of God and trust Him with your plans.
When we speak to God about our plans, when we surrender them to His will, we are saying "Yes I want these things but I want you more."
We are saying that "My heart is willing and I want you to work, I trust you and I know that you will bring to fruition what is best."
In our planning this year, we must ask ourselves if we are truly willing to let God work. We must remember that He intimately knows our plans and He delights in them. Let us encourage each other to keep our hearts open to sharing our plans with the Father, not being fearful of not getting what we want, but being excited by the possibilities of what God can do. Our plans may be just scratching the surface of what God has ahead for us. The road may be much different than we anticipate, but if we are committed to the Lord we can rest knowing no matter what lies ahead joy can be found because we are walking with the giver of life himself.