I recently wrote this article for Christian Standard magazine, and I’m already getting lots of feedback on both sides of the issue. Click the link below to read the entire article on the CS site.
“God’s plan for your life isn’t a map you see all at once, but a scroll unrolled a little at a time, requiring faith,” Rick Warren recently tweeted.
“God will accelerate his plan for your life as you put your trust in him. God is giving you victory sooner than you think,” says Joel Osteen.
Less prominent Christians champion the theology as well. In responding to a new believer’s question about his career, a contributor to Bible-Knowledge.com writes, “God will now be the one to fully guide you into whatever jobs he will want you to have. . . . The choice is no longer yours! In the meantime, God will make sure you have enough money and support coming in to keep you afloat until this next job comes through.”
It is comforting to believe God has mapped out our future. It is exciting to think he’s bringing me victory. And I would love for God to make sure I have enough money while I passively wait for it to happen.
But unlike pastors Warren and Osteen, Mr. Bible-Knowledge, and many Christians I know, I don’t believe God has created a plan for my life—or for yours.
Problems with “The Plan”
–We take verses out of context
Jeremiah 29:11 is a cherished verse, frequently used for encouragement in graduation cards, post-breakup pep talks and, yes, job searches. (Well-meaning believers have recited it to me in all three contexts.) Along with The Bachelorette and people who refuse to vaccinate their children, its yanked-out-of-context use is one of the biggest pet peeves of my life.
Somehow we forget the grim reality surrounding this verse: amidst oracles of doom and judgment against Judah, Jeremiah says these words to comfort the people (as a group) with promises of eventual restoration and return from exile.
This is a bit different from claiming it as a guarantee of a fulfilling job, wonderful spouse, or ministry “call.”
Click here to read more, including why I find this theology harmful, why it lets American Christians feel special, and and what I do believe about God’s plan.