by Rick Warren — November 12, 2022
From Building a Better Future
“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.”
Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)
God’s plans and your plans can work together to accomplish the purpose he has for you. Nehemiah is a great example of this. Yesterday we talked about the first two steps Nehemiah took when he made plans toward his goals that would honor God.
Here are three more steps that Nehemiah modeled in developing a life plan.
Step 3: Expect fear, but don’t let it stop you.
When the king saw Nehemiah approaching, he asked him why he looked so sad. In those days, it was a crime to be sad before the king, yet Nehemiah was about to ask for a leave of absence to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city.
Nehemiah did two things with his fear:
- He expressed his feelings. Nehemiah replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins” (Nehemiah 2:3 NLT). Admitting how you feel is how you grow.
- He prayed quickly before speaking. “The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 2:4 NIV). Sometimes prayer can just be quickly and silently saying, “Help!”
There is a myth that godly people are never afraid. That’s nonsense! Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is moving ahead in spite of your fear.
Step 4: Establish a clear target.
Nehemiah got specific in his request to the king: “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city” (Nehemiah 2:5 NLT).
To establish a specific goal, you need to ask yourself three questions: What do I want to be? What do I want to do? What do I want to have?
Make sure you let the size of your God determine the size of your goal. A God-sized goal honors God and shows him that you trust him to help you.
Step 5: Set a deadline.
Nehemiah 2:6 says, “Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?’ It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time” (NIV). Even though it was ultimately God who orchestrated the timing, Nehemiah still “set a time” so that he had a clear plan.
If your goal doesn’t have a deadline, then it’s not a goal. Ask, “How long is it going to take?” Then put it in your calendar. Remember, a dream without a deadline is an empty wish. It won’t go anywhere.
Tomorrow we will look at the final two steps Nehemiah took in developing a life plan. Don’t miss it!