Following God’s Plan for Your Life: Simple Obedience

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Does God have a plan for your life? What’s the connection between a fulfilled life and obedience to God?

You probably have a plan for your life. God, too, has a plan. That’s the view of Christian author Joyce Meyer, who argues that God’s plan is supreme and that you should choose to follow God’s will if you want to live a truly fulfilled life.

Read more to learn about Meyer’s view on following God’s plan for your life.

Following God’s Plan for Your Life

Meyer suggests that obedience to God is necessary for a happy life. However, as Meyer points out, many people choose to seek God only when they are going through difficult times or are in particular need of His help but talk themselves out of following His will when things are going well. When you feel secure in your worldly success, it can be difficult to deviate from your plan to start following God’s plan for your life instead. 

Meyer argues that a lack of obedience to God shows a lack of respect. She emphasizes that God has a plan for each of our lives, but we cannot be tools for His will if we’re stubborn and rebellious. To lead a truly positive life, she explains that we need to be willing to follow God’s will at all times and without excuses. 

Meyer urges us to remember that our obedience to God affects those around us. If we follow His will, we’ll be a positive influence in the lives of others. She notes that our lives would be better today if all of the people we’ve been affected by were obedient to God. Parents, she argues, would do well to keep this in mind because a parent’s disobedience today can impact their child’s future. She explains that if parents choose not to follow the will of God, they are not giving their children the best start on their path toward a positive life. 

Believing in God’s Plan for Us

In the Christian theological tradition, obedience to God does not mean following a specific, predetermined plan for our lives the way Meyer describes it. In fact, Baptist minister Mark Woods proposes that believing that God has a specific plan for our lives is “theologically flawed.” He explains that two problematic views of God can lead to such a belief.

Woods explains that some people ascribe to a “deterministic” view of God, where everything that happens, good and bad, is part of His divine plan. In this view, we accept all of the bad things that happen in the world as part of the “greater good,” trusting that everything happens for a reason, thus encouraging us not to question the plan and instead to be blindly obedient. 

Woods highlights two problems with this view:

1) The idea that there is an ultimate plan for the world and that our lives are part of that plan precludes the existence of free will and negates moral agency. If God has everything planned out, then our choices don’t matter.

2) For the “deterministic” view to be true, God would need to be cruel. Woods points out that truly terrible things happen in the world that a loving God would never plan.

The other view that Woods critiques is that God, as Meyer proposes, has laid out a “roadmap” for each of our lives that will lead to us being satisfied and content. In this view, we expect good things to happen to us, and we accept them easily as part of God’s plan when they do. When they don’t, we assume that we’ve failed God or that He is testing us. Woods calls this view of God and life “materialist and consumerist” because it frames faith as a transaction. When we do the “right” thing, we get a reward.

Woods explains that neither of these views is a healthy conceptualization of God and His role in our lives. He suggests that instead of thinking of God as planning our lives, we think of Him as wanting the best for us. In this view, God is akin to a loving parent. He wants a good life for us, He has given us the tools to mature as His children, and he is always there to support us. But He does not make our choices or lay out our path for us.
Following God’s Plan for Your Life: Simple Obedience

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  • How the Devil makes it his mission to corrupt our minds with negative thoughts
  • How to recognize the signs that Satan is attacking your mind
  • How to thwart Satan’s attacks and find happiness and fulfillment

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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