Focus – An Unfinished Plan
by Lt. Colonel Mervyn Morelock –
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NIV)
Each of us is a “work in progress.” We have the promise from God that he has a plan for us, a wonderful plan to prosper, to give us hope and a future, to bless us. We are on an unfinished journey.
This summer, the highways are busy with moving vans carrying the household goods of new lieutenants and older officers on their journeys to new appointments. Mingled with the excitement of traveling to a new place, there is an uneasy sense of the new: a new house, a new congregation, a new city, new schools and the beginning of a new stage of their ministry. It would be a fearful thing if we did not have the assurance of God’s love and that he has a wonderful plan for our lives.
The promise in Jeremiah was written to the children of Israel who were in exile in Babylon. It was a great encouragement. They were surrounded by false prophets and diviners and faced 70 years away from Jerusalem. God wanted them to know that his children would never be abandoned. He has a wonderful plan, a plan of hope, a plan of prosperity and that they would one day return to the Holy City. He promised that if we will seek the Lord with our whole hearts, we will find him.
The 37 members of the Builders of the Kingdom Session, now new lieutenants, are all making their way to their very first appointments. What faith and dreams, unique to youthful spirits, are theirs as they begin their lifetime of service to God and The Salvation Army! Who knows the adventures and victories that are ahead? There may be some sorrows and dark valleys, but God has a wonderful plan for them: “a hope and a future.”
While the work of salvation was finished for us by Jesus Christ on the Cross, we are on an unfinished journey through life. The new Salvationist handbook of Doctrine, Salvation Story, calls it a “pilgrimage” with Christ. “Our conversion inaugurates a journey during which we are being transformed into Christ’s likeness. It is the beginning of a pilgrimage with Christ. This pilgrimage requires from us the obedience of separation from sin and consecration to the purposes of God.
“Our Christian pilgrimage is a faith-journey inviting us to a life of discipleship. Through prayer and study of God’s word, we grow in communion with him. By following Christ we learn to put into practice what we hear through the Spirit. We grow in obedience and faithfulness to God. We begin to discover that obedient faith is given by God’s grace, rather than achieved by our superlative efforts. We become aware of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.”
“With the liberating experience of salvation comes the glory of the presence and living reality of the Holy Spirit, which is a beginning to the life of holiness. This glory honors, blesses and also burdens us.” (Page 86)
The bumper sticker reads, “Be patient with me, God isn’t finished with me yet!” We are all an “unfinished work.” Let us continue grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!