The Bible is very clear about its instruction for us to be careful when we plan our activities in life, and in nothing is this more true than in our commitment to God. In the context of understanding our level of commitment to Him, Jesus provides us a comparison in Luke 14:28: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it.” Jesus then goes on to say that if for the sake of discipleship, we are not willing to give up everything detrimental to God’s Way of Life, we are not worthy to be a disciple. Our sacrifice for the sake of following Christ must be comprehensive. Since this commitment is so comprehensive, it is easy to slip up on.
A common aphorism is that failing to plan is planning to fail. But, how about plans that fail? Even if we have seriously “counted the cost” and think our commitment and sacrifices are complete and genuine, we will certainly find blind spots where we fail. How often are our intentions good and we have seemingly prepared everything to the best of our ability, but then we find ourselves behaving inconsistently? Is there something we can do?
Fortunately, God has provided us a way to correct our paths. Just as a global positioning system [GPS] or a satellite-based navigation system will recalculate a path for us when we get off track, the gift of repentance is a tool that we can use to obtain forgiveness, when we find that we are off track (compare Acts 5:31). However, repentance and forgiveness only work when we go through the process of evaluating the success of our plans. In order to do this evaluation, we first need to know where we plan to go. Only then can we even know that we are in need of a course correction.
Expanding on the example cited above, before counting the cost to build a tower, we first need to know that we want to build a tower. We must firmly establish our commitment to God, knowing that it is the most important thing in our lives, and then make the plans for how to work towards it.
The Bible gives us encouragement regarding the plans we make. It may be true that we have a righteous goal in mind – to commit our lives to God – but the steps in our plan to achieve that goal need to be consistent. The Bible is full of stories about people who had seemingly good intents, but poor plans, doing what was right in their own eyes (compare Judges 17:6). God must direct the plans we make (compare Proverbs 16:9). If we allow Him to do so and follow His lead, we are encouraged that we will have help and support along the way (compare Psalm 121:3). God wants us to succeed, but our success is only possible if we accept and choose God’s right goal and plan for us.