My husband, Joe, and I had been married for only a year when I decided to quit the high-pressure office job I had in order to try to find something less stressful. I had always interviewed well, and I was accustomed to getting hired on the spot. This time, however, no one would hire me. As I shared my discouragement with my husband, he said that perhaps it was time for us to start raising a family. While I definitely wanted us to have children, I was convinced that I wasn't ready. Nevertheless, after months went by with no job opportunities in sight, I agreed with my husband. Years later, I discovered that all along, I had a health condition that could eventually rob me of my ability to have children, and that if I had delayed any longer, I might never have been able to have them at all. Now every time I think of my two grown sons, I thank God that He led me to adjust my plans to His.
The Bible tells us that the Lord created us with His own divine plans in mind. "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]." (Ephesians 2:10 AMP) If we are wise, we will align our plans with His, and agree to cooperate with Him to bring them to pass in our lives. God rarely shows us the big picture, so we need to walk in close fellowship with Him on a daily basis, and to become sensitive and obedient to His Spirit's leading in every area.
Prayer is an essential element in the cooperation process, because one of the basic purposes of prayer is to discover God's will. When we pray, it should be with an open heart and mind. Many believers go to God with their own plans and ask Him to bless them. This never works, and only leads to frustration and disappointment. Instead, we must surrender our own plans to the Lord, and adjust to His plans, because they are already blessed. As we commit every aspect of our lives to God each day, asking for His wisdom and guidance, He will direct - and, if necessary, even redirect - our steps so that we won't have to miss out on any of His extraordinary plans for us. Scripture says: "The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]." (Psalm 37:23 AMP) When we give God the green light to have His way in our lives, He gets busy weaving His will into every step we take. And it's only a matter of time before we experience the victory and success that He had in store for us all along.
Another important part of the cooperation process is having a working knowledge of God's Word. It's the Word of God that renews our minds and helps us to think and act more like Christ. Romans 12:2 (AMP) tells us: "Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]." In order for us to discover what plans are right for us in the Lord's sight, we must adopt a godly perspective, and become attuned to His voice. Satan will try to create "spiritual static," so that we have a hard time discerning God's "still, small voice." (1 Kings 19:12) But studying the Scriptures, and applying its principles, will sharpen our discernment skills, and strengthen our resolve to follow the Lord's leading. We need to remind ourselves often that ignorance of God's Word will cause us to stumble in the dark, when it's the Lord's will to light our way. As Psalm 119:105 (NLT) says: "Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."
We all have a desire for significance. As we surrender ourselves to the Lord, and adjust our plans to His, we maximize our impact on the world. "Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]." (James 4:10 AMP) Are you ready to throw open the door to all that God has in store for you?
Prayer: Lord, remind me that when You say no to one thing, You are always saying yes to something better. Today, I surrender to You all of my own plans, and I commit myself to agree with whatever You have in mind for me. From this day forward, I shall declare with complete confidence: "The Lord will work out His plans for my life!" (Psalm 138:8 NLT)
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