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Approved Plans

February 10th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 12: 5 (NLT)

 5 The plans of the godly are just;
      the advice of the wicked is treacherous.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I’m no stranger to varied interests.  My life is filled with a vast array of callings, tasks, and events.  Any given day, I may find myself editing book projects right after I’ve given a student a guitar lesson right before I speak to a group of students the night before I teach an ACT refresher course.  My life is lived in many different directions, as I’m sure yours is as well.  

One particular direction of interest in my life that I sometimes reference has to do with construction.  I’m no specialist by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve spent some significant time on different building projects.  For over a year-and-a-half, I worked daily on building our church facility here in Mt. Juliet.  I did everything from framing walls to digging ditches to operating jackhammers to navigating Bobcats.  I wasn’t the best, but I got my hands dirty trying on more than one occasion.

My brother, on the other hand, is a master builder.  He’s a Civil Engineer who works as a Project Manager for a construction company.  He’s managed projects ranging from simple houses to multimillion dollar train stations.  Michael is very knowledgeable of the world of construction.

But whether one is simply an average worker like myself (or perhaps a bit less than average) or an experienced professional like my brother, there is a central standard by which all would-be-builders live by: the plans.

The plans of a project are the key to its success or failure.  When working on our church, I cannot begin to recount the thousands of times that we would roll out that huge pile of papers and look for direction concerning a particular question. How many doors in a room?  What size bricks?  How deep to bury the utilities? Where do I put the trap door in my office?  How wide should we make the helicopter landing pad?  Well, you get the point.

The plans were our constant reference . . . they were like the map of our building voyage.  But they weren’t just the random musings of some inept architect out there.  No, building plans go through a rigorous approval process from the planning commissions and codes departments of communities and cities.  Before a shovel blade ever disturbs the first inch of soil, the plans must be submitted and reviewed for approval.  Why?  Because from that point forward, the builders know that the information in those plans has been scrutinized, corrected, and approved and that a building should be structurally sound if the plans are adhered to.

Life is a lot like construction.  We lay foundations and labor to piece together something that will stand the test of time and the changing weather patterns of culture.  We hope that our efforts will produce something that will stand firm amidst the wind and rain.  But just like construction, we mustn’t enter this process without approved plans.  

In that context, consider the implications of this passage: “The plans of the godly are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous.”  What makes a godly person’s life’s work different from anyone else’s has to do with the purity of their plans.  Justice, in this case, means that the person who seeks the approval of the divine Builder is concerned with whether or not the correct “materials” are used in their lives.  Honesty.  Integrity.  Humility.  Forgiveness.  Items like these comprise the materials list found in the printed legend of God’s plans for our lives . . . you don’t have to turn many pages to find them.

Furthermore, the one seeking to line up their life with wisdom’s plan is concerned with the correct angles and pitches, opting to resist the temptation to cut corners on the project and to keep with the plans as they were written.  Is it the easiest way?  No.  But will our efforts here affect the quality of our strength and stability when the storms come?  Indeed.

I’m no builder.  My brother is.  Either way, we both need plans to adequately finish a project.  Such is the nature of life . . . spiritually, of course.  It doesn’t matter if this whole faith thing comes naturally to you or not, just seek the approved plans of the Master and use them to build each day of your life as close to His “code” as possible . . . His Spirit and grace will take care of the rest.

In the end, your house will stand.


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