There’s an old bumper sticker that says, “God is my co-pilot.” I’m sure whoever came up with that meant well, but it’s terribly misguided because it implies that we are in the pilot seat when the reality is that this arrangement is a recipe for disaster. If you want to fly off course, relegate God to your assistant while you take charge.
This subtly manifests itself when we make our own plans, then ask God to bless them. There is a difference between using our God-given gifts and desires for ourselves – even when inviting God to take part – and submitting our will completely to him. Christ modeled this attitude in the Garden of Gethsemane as he expressed his desire with the caveat, “Not my will, but Yours.” God wants to hear our ideas, dreams, and ambitions. He invites it. But he also knows what is best for us, so we are wise to lay them out, then lay them down. He sees down the road much farther than we possibly can.
Scripture tells us that if we want our plans to succeed, we should commit our daily actions to the Lord. That means the small things. If you have a job, do it as if it’s your highest calling. If you are raising children, treat them as your personal mission field. View those around you – work, school, church, neighborhood, sports teams, clubs – as the ones God has put in your path for you to love, encourage, help, pray for, and show his attributes. That’s God’s design for every believer’s life, so you are guaranteed success when you follow this plan.
If you don’t particularly like your job, imagine the difference it would make if you woke up every morning praying, “Lord, help me to show you to my co-workers today.” If that’s your mission, the workday becomes much more interesting and the irritations seem less significant. Sure, you may have a boss at the workplace, but when you are ultimately working for God, your attitude drastically changes. Now a job that may not fit your career plan suddenly becomes a part of God’s plan, which promises success on a whole new level.
Frustration comes when we fail to recognize and prioritize God’s plans. We can make our own plans, but only God’s will prevail. We can set goals such as a high-paying job, a distinguished family, a recognized name, or whatever. The question is not whose plans will succeed. That’s already determined. The question is whether you will accept the invitation to be a part of his success or waste time pursuing your own goals. When we put him in the pilot seat and fly with him, we will arrive at a destination better than we can imagine. When we pilot our own lives, the most likely result is a disastrous wreck.
Staying close to God’s purpose and plan sets us on a course guaranteed to find fulfillment. His name is described in Proverbs as a “strong fortress.” That military analogy denotes several things, all of which are desirable and even necessary to make it through this life.
First, it’s a place of safety. This is where you want to be during a time of war. Your enemies cannot get to you there. Life is filled with battles. We have internal struggles that threaten our peace. External forces come against us and our loved ones. The strongest soldier can only fight in the battlefield for so long. Eventually we all need a place of retreat, where the sanctuary of companions and impenetrability of the walls allow us to heal from wounds and rest from exertion. When you feel overwhelmed or your plans seem to fall apart, run to the fortress. (By the way, staying close to the fortress at all times makes it a short run.)
Second, a strong fortress is a fortified city. That means weapons. If you don’t already know, you are not getting anywhere in life without a fight. We fight to stay focused on what is right. We fight to take every thought captive. We fight to protect those close to us. We fight for our marriages, families, communities, and nations. Sometimes we have to fight just to get out of bed each day! No sane person enters a fight without a weapon or two. Where do we get those weapons? Our fortified city, which is God. His weapons are not made of metal and gunpowder. His weapons are made of spirit and power, and they are strong enough to win every battle. But there’s still a fight. Engagement is required. Grab your spiritual weapons and you can participate in the victory. The outcome has already been decided, so why not?
Third, it’s the most reliable place to be. A strong fortress is built on rocks, which provide a solid, immovable foundation. When you need rescue or deliverance from the perils of this world, take shelter in the place that cannot be shaken. In a world full of calamity and confusion, we desperately need a refuge that we know will always stand firm. Society’s sense of right and wrong, good and bad, success and failure, and every other standard will continue to change with each generation, but God does not. We can count on his ways today, yesterday, and tomorrow. He is reliably the same, even as we go through different seasons of life, and he is always right. We can depend on him through every situation.
God is in charge, so seek his leadership at all times. He will succeed – that’s guaranteed. Get on his side and you can enjoy the victory.
This is an excerpt from Randy’s book Upgrade, soon available on LIFE Today. Copyright ©2021 by James Randall Robison. Used by permission.