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Plan A vs Plan B

Proverbs 3:5, 6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Untold numbers of Christians are spiritually unaware and defeated in their daily lives. They don't realize that there is a battle going on for their minds. When struggling believers perceive the nature of the conflict and realize that they can be transformed by the renewing of their minds, they will experience freedom.

Faith is God's way to live and reason is man's way, but faith and man's ability to rationalize are often in conflict. It's not that faith is unreasonable, nor am I suggesting that you ignore your responsibility to think. On the contrary, we are required by God to think and choose. God is a rational God and He does work through our ability to reason. The problem is that our ability to reason is limited. The Lord said: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). We are incapable of determining God's thoughts through human reasoning, therefore we are dependent on divine revelation.

So we can live God's way: operating by faith, which I like to call Plan A. Or we can live our way: operating by our limited ability to reason, which is Plan B. Plan B is based on our tendency to rationalize, "I don't see it God's way" or "I don't believe it," so we do it our way. Solomon urged us always to live God's way when he wrote: "Do not lean on your own understanding" (Plan B), but "in all your ways acknowledge Him" (Plan A)(Proverbs 3:5, 6).

The strength of Plan A in your life is determined by your personal conviction that God's way is always right and by how committed you are to obey Him. The strength of Plan B is determined by the amount of time and energy you invest in entertaining thoughts which are contrary to God's Word. You may really know God's way is best. But the moment you begin to entertain thoughts or ideas which are contrary to God's Word, you have established Plan B as an escape route in case Plan A should fail. Is it rational to choose our way over God's way?

Prayer: Lord, I want to be done with self-centered, mediocre planning. I choose to submit my will to Your perfect way and trust You for the outcome.

Dr. Neil Anderson, Daily in Christ a Devotional. (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, Inc., 1993), March 11.

The Source of Plan B

James 1:7, 8
Let not [the doubting] man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

When you continue to vacillate between God's Plan A and your Plan B, your spiritual growth will be stunted, your maturity in Christ will be blocked, and your daily experience as a Christian will be marked by disillusionment, discouragement and defeat. Where do Plan B thoughts come from? There are two primary sources.

First, your flesh still generates humanistic thoughts and ideas. Your flesh is that part of you which was trained to live independently of God before you became a Christian. At that time there was no Plan A in your life; you were separated from God, ignorant of His ways, and determined to succeed and survive by your own abilities.

When you were born again, God gave you a new nature and you became a new person, but nobody pressed the CLEAR button in your brain. You brought with you into your new faith all the old Plan B habits and thought patterns of the flesh. So while your new self desires to live dependently on God and follow Plan A, your flesh persists in suggesting Plan B ways to live independently of God.

Second, there is a person active in the world today who has opposed Plan A in God's human creation since the Garden of Eden. Satan and his demons are relentless in their attempts to establish negative, worldly patterns of thought in your mind which will in turn produce negative, worldly patterns of behavior.

The essence of the battle for the mind is the conflict between Plan A, living God's way by faith, and Plan B, living man's way by following the impulses of the world, the flesh and the devil. You may feel like you are the helpless victim in this battle, being slapped back and forth like a puck in a match between rival hockey teams. But you are anything but helpless. In fact, you are the one who determines the winner in every skirmish between Plan A and Plan B.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that I can live above the world, the flesh and the devil as long as I choose Your plan for my life.

Dr. Neil Anderson, Daily in Christ a Devotional. (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, Inc., 1993), March 12.