Does God have a detailed plan for our individual lives?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Life with God, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. Life with God

    Life with God
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    Dear fellow Baptists


    We all know that God has a general plan for us Christians and there are many passages in the Bible about God having a plan for a group of people in a specific situation, for instance the often horribly misused Jeremiah 29:11.
    What foundations are there however in the Bible for the belief that God has a detailed plan for our individual lives? Proverbs 19:21, for instance, points in that direction but at the same time Proverbs 21:5 kind of encourages us to make plans ourselves.


    This is a VERY important question because belief in a God's plan often leads to the understanding that as a Christian it is important to try to find out that plan to be able to follow God's will - and to try to find out God's will in order to not deviate from His plan...
    I have seen that lead to persons being left floundering nervously and sometimes making strange or even immature decisions rather than doing their very best to base their choices in life on the clear rules and instructions found in the Bible, combined with praying to seek wisdom, strength and approval from our Lord - which altogether makes us grow as persons.
    It is kind of like trying to peek into the teachers book in school to see the correct answers compared to confidently trying to solve the questions oneself based on what the teacher already has taught and with the help of the teacher when needed...


    I am looking forward to your comments!
     
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  2. Life with God

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    Thank you for your interesting post, Reformed.

    It is nice that you have found an answer to the question about God's plan for your life that doesn't stress you out and that is something many could learn from.

    It would be interesting to hear more about the foundations for your view that God has a plan for us. Most serious Baptists share your opinion but a question is if it is more a tradition than something based on the Scriptures...
     
  3. Iconoclast

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    Hello LWG

    Many who have been saved by God.....see this plan detailed in Romans 8:28-39...
    God works in us!!!
     
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  4. robustheologian

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    God directs everything according to His plan...Ephesians 1:11. And there's no need to worry because it'll be all good...(as Icon posted) Romans 8:29-30.
     
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  5. Life with God

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    This is very nice - three good comments in a row to think about...


    Yes, Matthew 10:29 certainly calls for careful consideration. And at least it confirms that God is almighty, that nothing can happen against His will. We also all know that God at least sometimes works in our lives.
    But does it actually tell us that He chooses to control everything in our lives, according to a plan, even if He certainly could do that? And if He would: wouldn't that make us into "merely" His chess-pieces - and what implications would that in turn have for the fact that our behavior will be judged (2 Cor. 5:10)?

    I certainly agree that God is a god of purpose regarding our lives here on Earth, our chance for salvation and the promise about a life in Heaven for those who accept Him and Jesus Christ. But is there anything in the Bible that contradicts that maybe God to a large extent wants us to shape our lives ourselves within His plan of salvation?
    Isn't both Ephesians 1:11 and Romans 8:28, seen in context, talking about that plan of salvation and not about a detailed plan of the kind that many Baptists are so eager to try to find out and align their lives to: "What is his plan/will regarding what I should study and where I should study it / Where should I live and work / If I should get married to nice and committed Christian A or B (Or a C, whom I haven't met yet)".

    Sometimes I feel that one reason that questioning of a detailed God's plan is often frowned upon and almost regarded as sacrilege is that the thought of Him giving us a certain freedom is confused with claiming that the He is not able to control everything if He wanted to.
    The thought of a God's detailed plan is also comfortable because in a way it takes away the need to make our own decisions, which we are then responsible for - we just have to be good "extractors" of God's plan...
     
  6. Iconoclast

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    No......you indeed are fully responsible and accountable for the plans you make.
    Do not confuse what is biblically revealed truth from the Divine side.....with those actions that we are responsible to do, even as we are dependant on God to enable us.
    An example of this can be found in Deut 8:10-18.

    Sinclair Ferguson wrote a book called discovering God's Will.....that might be helpful to you.
     
    #6 Iconoclast, Nov 17, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
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  7. Life with God

    Life with God
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    Yes Iconoclast, we are certainly responsible for all our plans but if a God's detailed plan exist and we manage to find out what it is and make it our own then we are safe, aren't we? :)
    If you would like to write a bit more then I am very interest in what kind of actions you think about "that we are responsible to do".

    Thank you very much for the tip about the book - I will look for it. I hope it also deals with the question if God actually has a plan regarding everything in our lives in the first place. :)
     
  8. Deacon

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    We can thwart God's will for our lives.
    That's why I'm hesitant to say God's plan is detailed.

    I don't always walk step-in-step with God.
    Some may walk away from God's plan, only later to listen to his voice.
    God works with humble, broken people.

    Rob
     
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  9. robustheologian

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    No, we CAN'T. Nothing can thwart God's will and purpose for our lives.

    "Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:1-2)
     
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  10. Deacon

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    Let's purpose to work though this difference of views politely.

    In 1 Samuel, God chooses a king for Israel, the people's choice; handsome, head and shoulders about all others (9:2; 10:23); God anoints Saul (10:1), provides for him (10:4), the Spirit comes upon him and turns him into a "different person" (10:6). God is with him (10:7).
    Yet Saul chooses a different direction. He is not a man after God's heart.
    King Saul is reprimanded in 1 Samuel 15:19

    "Why did you not listen to the voice of Yahweh and fall with shouting on the plunder? You have done evil in the sight of Yahweh!” (LEB)​

    We are reminded in verse 29 that God doesn't change.

    "Moreover, the Glory of Israel will not break faith and will not regret, for he is not a human that he should regret.” 1 Samuel 15:29 (LEB)​

    God is unchanging in his nature and his character, to include his being, purposes, and promises. But there is some interplay with the free will of man.

    In verse 11 (and similarly in 35) it says: “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not kept my word. (LEB)

    Mathew Henry says "Repentance (regret) in God does not alter his will, but wills an alteration." Saul's actions changed the way God worked with him.
    If he had a heart for God, God would have worked with him.

    Rob
     
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  11. Van

    Van
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    Lets back up and consider exhaustive determinism, God predestines whatsoever comes to pass. If that view is valid, then God has a detailed plan which He compels. However, if God either causes or allows whatsoever comes to pass, then God's plan must be flexible enough to accommodate our decisions which are inconsistent with God's desire for our choices. Someone has said, God is the God of second chances, and while the idea is valid, a better view is God is the God of our continuous chance. Every day, no matter how we failed before, God has a plan for us to follow that day.
     
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  12. Martin Marprelate

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    Proverbs 3:5-6. 'Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all you ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.'

    Acts 15:18. 'Known to God from eternity are all His works.'

    God is never taken by surprise and never frustrated by the actions of man. For Christians He works everything for their good (Rom. 8:28)- even our sins and our failings.

    So don't seek to know God's plan for your life, just pray for His wisdom and guidance, and He will give it to you (James 1:5).

    Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
    Pilgrim through this barren land.
    I am weak but Thou art mighty,
    Hold me with Thy powerful hand.......'
     
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  13. agedman

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    Van, such a comment is not helpful to the thread. Your own bias is being displayed, and it is just inaccurate.

    It is ONLY the believer that has total "freedom of choice" because they may choose what is fleshly or choose what is Godly. The heathen have no such option, but may only choose what is from the realm in which they abide - that which is of the flesh and corrupt.

    I have to say, that I rarely am surprised at what some pass as sound doctrine, but the about statement meets that measure.

    First, God doesn't need to be "flexible." The Lord Jesus Christ stated, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Do you think God is flexible in heaven?

    What has God established? The law of reward. A life spent fulfilling the flesh will of that same reap what is sown. No better example than Charlie Sheen's admittance. God is NOT flexible.

    Second, God does not "accommodate our decisions which are inconsistent with God's desire(s)." That is completely out of the character and nature of God. God's desires are always accomplished.

    Third, God is certainly God, and although humankind fails, God will use what God chooses to use. HOWEVER, Do not mistake that for suggesting that God will again use a person for a situation in which that person by sinful behavior has been ruined. There may be other less noble areas of service, but that once ascended place is no longer available.

    Fourth, God is not our "continuous chance" as Paul stated about some of the Corinthians that were dead because of the unrepentant sinful behavior.
     
  14. Van

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    I do not see any need to respond to Agedman's exhaustive determinism bias.

    God does not need to be flexible, if exhaustive determinism is valid. But if exhaustive determinism is true, then God predestines our choices to sin, making God the author of sin. Thus exhaustive determinism is an utterly unbiblical doctrine.

    Every day that you are alive, if God credits your faith in Christ as righteousness, He will transfer you into the kingdom of His Son, forgive your sins, make you spiritually alive (born anew) and put His Spirit into you.
     
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  15. Van

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    Lamentations 3:19-26

    19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.

    20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.

    21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

    22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.


    23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.


    24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him."

    25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;

    26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the LORD.
     
  16. Life with God

    Life with God
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    You gave me kind of a scare there Marprelate, because there is clearly the answer - and how could I have missed that in the Bible?? :)
    But while this is the text in NKJV it has a footnote with the alternative translations "make smooth or straight" of "direct". NIV has chosen "straight" with "direct" in the footnote.

    So the search continues, it seems...

    Yes, James 1:5 is an important verse: We are clearly encouraged to ask God for wisdom.
    And your conclusion that we shouldn't focus on knowing God's plan makes sense because even if the Is there a plan-question is still pending I am pretty sure that there isn't any place in the Bible where we are encouraged in the same way to ask God for his plan. And yet so many Christians are so preoccupied with doing just that...
     
  17. agedman

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    But you did, didn't you. So much for not seeing "any need to respond."

    If, in fact, that was the teaching, then you might have something worth posting, but because it is not the teaching, but your own biased view of the teaching. Therefore, your inaccurate statement is merely a distraction at best and firing the furnace of confusion at worst.
    You are attempting to use Romans 4, but use it inappropriately.

    This isn't a thread for that discussion, but to let the readers know.
     
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  18. Iconoclast

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    Rob
    God does not have regret or any other human emotions or passions. God does not repent.
    He puts things in language we can understand.
     
  19. Rippon

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    RT already covered Job 42:2.

    Job 5:12 : He thwarts the plans of the crafty
    Psalm 33:10 : He thwarts the purposes of the peoples
    Pro. 10:3 : He thwarts the craving of the wicked
    Is. 8:10 : Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted
    Is. 14:27 : For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
     
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  20. BrotherJoseph

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    Life with God,

    Yes, God does have a plan for everyone's life as He has predestinated everything that comes to pass. Natural man does not like this doctrine as it exalts God's will, not man's.

    "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps" (Proverbs 16:9) God directs our steps, one cannot deviate from His plan as God does not misdirect any person's steps.

    In the book of Psalms it says: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD... (37:23)” Notice the italicized word “good”. That word was added by the translators, thus the verse actually says, “The steps of man are ordered by the Lord.” The word for “are ordered” means “causatively to set up, fixed, established.”

    In the book of Jeremiah it says: “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (10:23)” If it is not in man to direct his steps, then who is directing them? Paul tells the Philippian brethren that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (2:13)” Scripture is consistent through and through!

    "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) "All things" mean exactly that and includes sin as sin is a thing.

    " being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:" (Ephesians 1:11) Again, "all things" means exactly that and we see here how God's will is the first cause of all causes. If God is not the first cause of all causes he isn't God.
     
    #20 BrotherJoseph, Nov 17, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
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