Sometimes people say, "God has a plan for your life!"
and "Everything happens for a purpose!"
These phrases are often uttered from a Calvinistic
perspective of predestination, that the Holy Spirit
guides people to accomplish an individual plan God established
for them, apart from their free will.
In this article, I want to look at a Biblical phrase
that better states God's work in our lives, "For it
is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work
for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
We Must Obey. . . .
Paul, writing to Christians who are obeying God, exhorts
them to continue their obedience, because God was working
- "So then, my beloved, just as you have always
obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now
much more in my absence, work out your salvation
with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work
in you, both to will and to work for His good
pleasure" (Phil. 2:12-13).
God works through His children in a special way, both
to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Thus, we're careful to obey God, and work out our
own salvation with fear and trembling.
God Works In Us Through His Word
God's word does not return to Him void. It's living
and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing
as far as the division of soul and spirit (Is. 55:11;
As Christians, we believe, therefore God's word works
- "Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the
work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent'"
- ". . . the word of God, which also performs its
work in you who believe" (1 Th. 2:13).
It's important for us to work out our salvation with
fear and trembling, because if we stop believing, God's
word stops working in us as His children.
God Works In You To Accomplish His Will
False teachers often lure people into their religion
by promising financial prosperity. They teach that God
will do whatever they want, as long as they pray in
faith, and give money to the preacher's church.
But as Christians, we understand that God works in
us to accomplish His will, not to accomplish
In other words, God works in us for His pleasure,
not for our pleasure.
- "For it is God who is at work in you, both
to will and to work for His good pleasure"
God's Plan For Your Life
Now, let's examine the expression, "God has a plan for
your life," from a Biblical perspective.
God's plan for Christians is to use them in whatever
way He pleases. His plan for our lives is to accomplish
His will through us.
Therefore our prayer is that God uses us, as He wills,
for His good pleasure.
Like the old song inspired by Isaiah 64:8, says:
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter; I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Suffering comes in many forms. Sometimes God's children
suffer more, and sometimes hardly at all. But all who
desire to live godly in Christ Jesus, will suffer persecution
(2 Tim. 3:12).
God often uses the suffering of His children to bring
about His will:
- Job suffered at the hands of Satan, so God could
prove a point to Satan.
- The Israelites lived in Egyptian bondage four hundred
years, so God could bring them out in such a way to
prove His sovereignty.
- The apostles suffered so other Christians could
be strong (1 Cor. 1:27; 4:10).
- Early Christians suffered during the reign of Rome,
so God could demonstrate that Jesus is King of kings
and Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14; 19:16).
- Christians today suffer persecution according to
God's will (2 Tim. 3:12; 2 Cor. 12:10).
Prayers Answered According To God's Will
With these thoughts in mind, let's talk about prayer.
Indeed, God answers our prayers, but He answers them
according to His will, not our will (1
As we look back and review our lives, we know God
has answered our prayers in a way that's best for us,
while placing highest priority on accomplishing His
will (Matt. 5:5-11; Phil. 2:12-13).
In some cases, we may pray for relief from suffering,
but God's answer is for us to continue suffering, so
He can accomplish His will. This was the case with the
Israelites in Egyptian bondage, Christians during Roman
rule, and Paul when he had a thorn in the flesh.
As God's children, we know He's working in us to accomplish
His will, no matter what state we find ourselves.
And when we pray, we know God will answer in a way
that's best for us, placing highest priority on accomplishing
Yes, in a manner of speaking, "God has a plan for
God's plan for your life is to work in you to accomplish
His will, according to His good pleasure.