God’s plan is rarely the same as our plans, and it is always better. His plan is rarely the same as ours and it is always better. Notice my use of the word ‘and’. I didn’t say God’s plan is rarely the same “but” it’s better. I said “and”. God’s plan is not better than our own in spite of being different. It’s better because it is different.
It is foolish to live by a plan of your own making. People really aren’t qualified to decide their own destinies because more often than not, they have no idea where they are going. We have no idea what the future holds in this life, and yet we still try to plan out our own destinies. We establish our own ends and attempt to use our own means to get there. We set up these destinations, these landmarks in our heads and invest our lives into reaching those points. I’m sure that a lot of high schoolers are planning on what college they’ll attend. For college students like myself, we might be focusing on graduating and starting our careers. For some people, it’s marriage. For some, it’s parenthood. For others, it’s retirement. This is all nothing compared to eternity. Heed the words of James. “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes,” (James 4:14).
Friends, none of this is guaranteed. We’re not entitled to any of those things. Too often, we live for ends within this finite life while completely ignoring the infinite life ahead of us. In life, we’re only assured one thing with two possible results. It is guaranteed that you will die, and upon death, you will either find yourself in heaven or hell. There is no alternative. No amount of planning, no scheming, no well though out spreadsheet can prevent you from passing from this life to the next, and nothing you do can make you worthy of eternal life in heaven. Good works are filthy rags to God.
This life is not an end in itself. Do not dedicate your life to anything in this world. Too often, we center our lives on the natural byproducts of right living. We dedicate ourselves to happiness, comfort, peace, love, or security. Yet, these things can only be obtained by those who live for Christ. If you live for happiness, you will suffer eternally. If you live for Christ, joy naturally follows. If you live for security, nothing you do can save you from hell. If you live for Christ, God works in all things for your good. He who keeps his life will surely lose it, but he who loses his life for Christ’s sake will preserve it (Matt 16:25, Luke 17:33).
It is not that happiness and security are bad. Peace and comfort are good things, but they do not save you. Only Jesus saves you. Stop trying to be a good person. Stop trying to be happy. Stop trying to make something of yourself. Stop trying to make people and God proud of you. You can’t. You can’t achieve any of this. You’ll never be able to try hard enough. Trying doesn’t cut it. There is only one thing you can do that doesn’t lead to eternal misery and failure. Fall at Jesus’ feet. Don’t even try to serve God. Martha did, and was rebuked. Mary chose what was better, and it has not been taken from her to this day.
Why do I share this with you? Why do I write with such urgency? Because eternity is hidden behind the thinnest veil. Because we may exit this life and enter into the next at any moment. Death can come so suddenly. In September of 2012 Kathie, Christopher, and Matthew Peterson were murdered by their husband and father Al Peterson, who then took his own life. They weren’t planning on their sudden deaths. They were planning on what the rest of the week would look like. Thankfully, their lives were lived at the feet of Jesus. For them, to live was Christ. For them, to die was gain.
Jesus Christ is not simply a safeguard from hell. Faith is not merely insurance, although through faith we do have assurance of salvation. Jesus must be the passion of our hearts. He must be our deepest longing. It is not a romantic desire, it’s deeper. Just as David’s love for Jonathan was “was more wonderful than that of women,” (2 Samuel 1:26), so our love should be for God. Consider Jesus a brother, for He is “the firstborn among many brothers,” (Romans 8:29). Consider Him a friend, for “a servant does not know his master’s business,” (John 15:15) and “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” (Proverbs 18:24). Know Jesus as a loving husband, for “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” (Ephesians 5:25) and one day it shall be roared like thunder, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready,” (Revelation 19:7). Worship Jesus as king, for He has declared, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” (Matthew 28:18).
Salvation is not up to us. It is up to God, so fall at His feet. Jesus is our friend, our eldest brother, our bridegroom, and our king only if we fall at His feet. We must surrender. We must forfeit our plans for the Lord’s plan. Do this now. I join with Paul in imploring you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). Repent and be saved. If you repent, you shall be saved. Do not wait, for “in just a little while, ‘the One who is coming will come, and will not delay.’” (Hebrews 10:37). Eternity is near.