Some of you know that I have been hosting a LifeGroup full of Under 25s this spring. We’ve used Andy Stanley’s Starting Point as a launching pad to talk about life, faith, grief, and hope.
And a recurring question we’ve addressed is this: what is God’s plan for my life?
Now: many of you know that I instinctively recoil against that question. A better question, in my judgment, is this: does God have my life for his plan? In other words, God has a plan for life, period, and then it is our great honor to line our lives up with how he has already declared life works.
Anyway, last week as we were again talking about this dilemma and these distinctions, I came up with some alternative phrasing. I was actually talking to think (verbally processing), which is HIGHLY unusual. But I kind of liked the results.
“What if we think less of God’s plan for your individual life,” I said, “and look at it more from the perspective of his design? He may well have a specific design for your life, a blueprint for you to follow to achieve his best outcome for you.”
“But then he gives you free will as to whether or not you will follow through with it.”
The analogy continued: an architect draws the structure, but the builder technically has the freedom to follow it, improvise on it, or disregard it altogether. There’s a good chance that that is like God and us, individually: he has a desired outcome, a finished product in mind for us and he gives us plenty of direction, encouragement, and intervention along the way.
But he never removes our free will … so we shoulder primary responsibility for whether or not we live into his grand design.
I don’t have a list of Scripture verses to back it up (Philippians 1:6, perhaps?), but the image connected with my LifeGroup and perhaps it will with you as well.