For the past couple of days, I've been backtracking a bit and talking about how we are to seek our goals from the Lord. But I do have to say that there is an element of faith involved too. I cannot say that I am 100% certain that every plan and goal I have is from Him. However, I can say that I am fairly certain and the rest is going to take a step of faith. The good news is that God is sovereign and has all things in His hands. While my plans are important, I also know that I will never be able to mess anything up when it comes to His plans. His plans will always prevail. I think of Abraham and Sarah with Hagar in Genesis 16. In the chapter right before this unsavory event, God makes an unconditional promise to Abraham to establish his family line. I wonder what Abraham was thinking when right after this dramatic encounter with the Lord, he agrees to Sarah's plan to marry Hagar.
Fortunately, the story doesn't end there. The Lord is still able to carry out His plans, though not without pain for all parties involved. Isaac is born---and I am sure that Abraham learned his lesson!---when he is 99 years old. Even though there are consequences for his lack of faith and trust, the Lord's promises and plans still prevails. (Prov. 19:21 says "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.")
When I set my goals with the Lord, I also need to carry them out in His spirit and with His power. He doesn't give me plans and then expect me to run with them on my own. Rather, the One who guides me will also give me power to carry out those goals. It is not all up to me.
A benefit of committing our plans to Him is that we will know that whatever happens is His will. Prov. 16:3 even goes so far to say "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Now, the Proverbs are not to be read as 100% guaranteed, iron-clad promises. They are general principles that, if followed, will usually happen.
So what do I do if I let the Lord guide me in setting my goals and I fail? Does it mean that I have failed to listen correctly to Him? I don't think that's true either. Prov. 16:1 reminds us that "To man belongs the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue." A little further on in Prov. 16:9, it says "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."
As I mentioned, there is also the possibility that though we commit our plans to Him, we can "fail" to reach our goals. But that doesn't always mean that I should give up that plan. There is much we can learn from failure. For God, success isn't always the goal. Growth is. Trust is. Faith is. And sometimes the greatest lessons we learn come when we fail.
So whatever you have planned with the Lord, commit it to Him. Let Him guide you in breaking it down step by step. Tackle each of those steps with the strength that He gives. When I do this, I know that whether I succeed or fail, He is with me. If I succeed, I only have done so because of His faithfulness. I cannot take the credit. If I fail, I can trust that there is a lesson He wants me to learn, if I am willing to let Him teach me. (That's the key factor!) Sometimes I am so focused on the outcome that I fail to see His hand behind it all.
As we look at our tasks for today or tomorrow, steps towards the goals we believe He has for us, let us commit them into His hands. Whether success or fail, done or unfinished, we can trust that our days are filled with the things that fulfill His greater kingdom purposes.