Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts. –Proverbs 24:3 TLB
Planning is simply thinking ahead on paper.
There is nothing wrong with wise planning. The ant plans for the winter and stores up accordingly. We are told to consider her ways and be wise (Proverbs 6:6-8). Architects, CEOs, business owners, coaches, and government officials all spend time planning. God himself is a detailed planner. If the earth was a few hundred miles closer to the sun, we would have burned up by now. If the earth was a few hundred miles farther away from the sun, we would be frozen to death. God obviously had a plan before He created the earth. God has a plan for your life. The Bible says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT). If God has a plan for you, He must want you to discover what the plan is, write it down, and act on it. God gave every human being the capacity to imagine and dream. There is no reason for God to give you the capacity to imagine and dream positively and creatively without Him expecting you to realize a dream and complete the task to accomplish it. Henry Ford, at the age of 40, was working in a garage. He was miserable and dissatisfied. One day he had an idea about how to mass produce automobiles on an assembly line. Henry Ford: • Had a dream. • Planned his steps. • Worked his plan. Many people have great dreams and desires for their lives. However, many of your dreams will never come to pass unless you have a plan and then work the plan. Remember, God respects people who plan like Noah who had a plan for the Ark, Moses who had a plan for the Tabernacle, and Solomon who had a plan for the Temple.
Planning Involves Spiritual Warfare
Strategic planning is the key to warfare; to win, you need a lot of good counsel. –Proverbs 24:6 MSG Many very spiritual people want to spend time in spiritual warfare. They want to spend hours fasting and praying, rebuking the devil, and fighting demons. One church I know has all night prayer meetings every month. When I asked the pastor of this church if he had a written strategic plan for taking his city for God, he said he did not have the time to make one. This pastor spends so much time “fighting” that he does not have time for planning. A winning plan is essential if you plan on winning the daily battles so you can ultimately win the war. When I speak at business meetings, I tell the audience that they are too pragmatic and they need more spirituality. However, when I speak to churches, I find myself telling them they are to “mystical” or “spiritual” and they need to become more pragmatic. Remember this, if you will work the principles, you will need less miracles. Many church people are looking to God for miracles all the time because they do not practice the principles of God’s Word—like taking the time to write a strategic plan.
Strategic Planners in the Bible
God Believes in Planning The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations (Psalms 33:11 NKJV). Jesus Believed in Planning Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? (Luke 14:30-31 NKJV). Apostle Paul Believed in Planning Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? (2 Corinthians 1:17 NKJV). James Believed in Planning Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15 NKJV). Spirit Led and Spirit Planned I was consulting a pastor one day and encouraging him to create a strategic plan. He said, “I don’t get into planning, I am just led by the Spirit of God.” Is planning scriptural or should we be “led by the Spirit.” Answer: both! We should plan and allow the spirit of God to direct our planning process. The real truth of the matter—if you are really “led by the Spirit of God,” the Holy Spirit will lead you into the Word of God which instructs you to write out a clear vision of your future (Habakkuk 2:2-4).
What is a plan? As mentioned previously, the definition of planning is: • To think out a way of how to do something. • To come up with a creative way of causing something to come to pass. • A detailed method, thought out beforehand. • To design something that stresses the outcome. Every champion thinks ahead. In order to create a plan you have to think ahead. Those who think ahead—get ahead! You would not consider building a house without a blueprint. Why would you start your life or business without a plan? Sadly, most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do their life. Studies show those ten minutes of planning creates an additional four hours of productivity in your day. Organize your life. Plan your daily activities. What are you going to do every day to achieve your dreams and goals? Plan the use of your time; don’t just react to circumstances. Use a calendar and make a daily list of things you need to accomplish. If you don’t control your time, everything or everybody else will control you. When you do not have a clear picture of where you are going a certain level of uncertainty arises. Writing down your personal dreams, goals, and plans for the future will give you a clear- cut picture of where you want to go. When you have a clear-cut picture of where you want to go, you step into your future with confidence. Committing your goals to paper increases the likelihood of you achieving them 1,000 percent! –Brian Tracy John Maxwell said, “A masterfully written plan is confidence on paper. If your plan is as strong as it should be, your charming personality will be the icing on the cake. Without a written plan, you may be wearing the cake!” Don’t just think it, ink it! Put your confidence on paper. It is not enough for you to have a forceful and charismatic personality. Your ability to sway the masses will only work in the short term and will not accomplish massive undertakings.
Benefits of Planning
1. God promises to labor with a man who has a plan. Then the Lord said to me, “Write My answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed (Habakkuk 2:2-3 NLT). 2. Planning prevents the temptation to take short cuts. Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty (Proverbs 21:5 NLT). 3. Planning defines priorities. Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house (Proverbs 24:27 NLT). 4. Planning increases productivity. Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind (Proverbs 21:5 MSG). 5. Planning reduces the risk of making wrong decisions. 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 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’ (Luke 14:28-29 NKJV).
SEVEN BIBLICAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR PLANNING
When you make your plans, do the following things: 1. Ask God to join your planning process. “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin; (Isaiah 30:1). Our goals and plans should be directed and ordered of the Lord. King David wanted to build the temple. However, Solomon was the builder that God had chosen. God begins every project with the end in mind. Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure’ (Isaiah 46:10 NKJV). I have declared the former things from the beginning; They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass (Isaiah 48:3 NKJV). 2. Take time to make a plan. Commit your way (plans) to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass (Psalms 37:5). Many people spend more time planning their vacation than they do planning their life. Do you spend time planning for your church or business? King Solomon instructed, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT). One of the challenges for any leader is to balance the need for action with careful planning. Review your calendar over the past three months. How much time did you dedicate to planning your future course? If you allowed little or no time, change course. Set aside four hours each month to plan, a commitment of less than 3 percent of your time. Then watch as your organization grows. Organize your life. Plan the use of your time; don’t just react to circumstances. Use a calendar and make a daily list of things you need to accomplish. If you don’t control your time, everything or everybody else will. 3. Trust that God will inspire your thoughts. Commit your works (plans) to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established (Proverbs 16:3). 4. Get wise counsel about your plans. Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established (Proverbs 15:22). When planning to start a new business, church, or ministry, do you seek the balanced, wise counsel of others? King Solomon wrote, “Prepare plans by consultation…” (Proverbs 20:18 NASB). So often when a person starts a new business, church, or ministry, time is spent telling others how great the business will be but not a lot of time is spent listening to others who may have valuable advice. Before you make key decisions, show your plan to those with experience. Then listen and listen well. Don’t be defensive if holes are poked into your idea. Be ready to adapt and adjust the plan. Many mistakes made early on could have been avoided by listening to good, experienced counsel. What resources of expertise outside your organization do you need to have access to in order to plan and succeed? 5. You must write down your plan. Write the vision and make it plain on tablets… (Habakkuk 2:2). According to one survey, only 3 percent of the people in America ever write down their dreams and goals. It is very important that you have a clear sense of direction about what you want to achieve at this time in your life.
King David believed in writing out a clear plan:
Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.” Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the vestibule, its houses, its treasuries, its upper chambers, its inner chambers, and the place of the mercy seat; and the plans for all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, of all the chambers all around, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries for the dedicated things; (1 Chronicles 28:10-12 NKJV). “All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans” (1 Chronicles 28:19 NKJV). Three Benefits of putting your plan on paper: 1. Eliminates wrong people. 2. Focuses your attention where it is most needed. 3. Projects the shortest route to your goal. 6. You must work your plan. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his many words (Ecclesiastes 5:3 NKJV). You may have the loftiest of goals, the highest ideals, the noblest dreams, but remember this, nothing works unless you do. –Nido Qubein, president of High Point University, business consultant, and author
To get breakthrough results, you must take consistent action.
7. You will need to embrace the 3 P’s for achieving a dream: Patience, Persistence, Perseverance. By patience, persistence, and perseverance the snail made it to the ark. –Dr. Keith Johnson PATIENCE—The ability to wait without losing heart, complaining, or becoming bored. Enduring calmly. that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12 NKJV) Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise… –W.H. Auden, Poet PERSISTENCE—Continuing steadily in any course of action in spit of opposition. Enduring. Continual effort. Not disappearing or falling off. I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. (Luke 11:8 NKJV) Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up… (Luke 18:1-8 NIV). PERSEVERANCE—To try hard continuously in spite of troubles, obstacles, and difficulties. Persistent effort. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4).
If you want God to give you patience and you want it right NOW, you are not looking for patience. You are looking for anxiety. –Archbishop B.A. Idahosa I would rather get it later and get it right than get it early and get it wrong. –Archbishop B.A. Idahosa Few things are impossible when they are tackled with diligence and skill. Great works are performed; not by strength, but by perseverance. –Myles Munroe Your success in life is determined by the amount of adversity you can endure. –Paula White When you have a positive attitude, it is easier to be persistent. If you think success is just around the corner, you keep going. Nothing can stop a man/woman who will stay confident in the face of adversity and nothing on earth can help a man/woman who refuses to think positively. Which man/woman are you?