This ‘musing’ is based on a biblical proverb: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand”.

We’re not designed for living independently of our Maker. Attempts to do so have left the planet strewn with innumerable wreckages, as one disaster follows another. Yet history teaches us that we learn little or nothing from history, and continue to make the same dreadful mistake of thinking we are the centre of the universe & can run things without outside help – while, at the same time, sowing destructive seeds for future generations to harvest.

Speaking personally, I have many plans (this word can translate: devices, designs, thoughts or intentions) in my heart & mind, and recognise the tendency to shoot off at tangents into splendid independence. Some of my plans are honourable, some are otherwise. Some are carnal, soulish or spiritual – reflecting my nature as a tri-partite being…(NOTE: Carnal – literally, pertaining to the flesh or body – doesn’t necessarily equate with sinful. For example, an appetite for food and drink is carnal, yet is quite normal, healthy and innocent.)

These plans may often contend for supremacy within me, explaining the inner conflict that I may experience, & the difficult choices that sometimes I need to make…I notice how this clash of desires has increased since becoming a Christ-follower. This seems quite normal in the development of spiritual life, and is expounded by such Christian giants as St Paul, in his writings to believers of his time, now contained in our Scriptures

By way of contrast this proverb draws attention to the purpose of God (His counsel or will) which stands – the implication is that it is unchanging, it prevails and is ultimately accomplished. The Hebrew word suggests that it rises up to take its place at centre stage, so that among all the options it becomes established and is successful.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary: “This counsel is the true reality, elevated above the checkered manifoldness of human purposes, aims, and subjectivities, which penetrates and works itself out in history. The thoughts of a man thus gain unity, substance, endurance, only in so far as he subjects himself to this counsel, and makes his thoughts and actions conformable and subordinate to this counsel.”

St Paul presents a scenario where human reasonings or lofty opinions, raised up against the knowledge (or, ‘the knowing’) of God require challenging and overcoming … the Message version of one of his letters goes: “We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.”

The hero of my poem, DISCALCEATE, obviously worked through this process quite successfully, though not without some alarming moments, I’m sure. (By the way, I’m indebted to Eugene Peterson for the discovery of that lovely word). You can read the poem by clicking on the link below:

Question: To what extent am I committed to God’s Will ? I frequently take the words taught by Jesus on my lips: “Thy Will be done” – but are they prevailing in my heart ? and how much do my plans conform with His Purpose, revealed in Scripture, in Christ and in the faith community to which I belong ?

A PRAYER TO CONCLUDE: Sovereign God, tear down philosophies, opinions and barriers within me that may stand in conflict with your eternal truth. Teach me to walk in your ways, delighting in your will – for this will produce my greatest happiness & Your greatest glory. AMEN