“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 (New Living Translation)
Making plans for the future is perfectly permissible. In fact, the book of Proverbs speaks often about being a good steward of our time and making preparations. However, when our plans usurp what God has laid before us, He’ll step in and steer us in the direction He wants us to go. It’s helpful to look at His correction as an act of grace keeping us from walking down a crooked path.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (ESV)
“In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (NIV)
“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” (KJV)
“The heart of a son of man plans his ways and Lord Jehovah orders his steps.” (Aramaic Bible in plain English)
Humankind can make all the plans they can come up with, but ultimately – God will decide whether he will allow those plans to come to fruition.
Sometimes we pray for things, but don’t receive them. We later come to realize that not getting something we wanted was a “blessing in disguise.” It reminds us of God’s wisdom in knowing what’s best for us.
The best way to make plans is to put God’s will into our plans. Read God’s word, stay obedient to God. When we do this, our thoughts will be aligned with God’s will. By natural course, our plans will be guided by a sense of righteousness.
Our plans should always have an end goal of glorifying God in all we do. Seek his glory first, not ours. We should seek to make plans to involve God, to help ourselves and others understand his will.
The steps of a man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.
Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the purpose of the LORD will prevail.
A man’s steps are from the LORD, so how can anyone understand his own way?
I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not his own; no one who walks directs his own steps.