8/7/15: God’s Backward Planning
When I teach my students how to write their research papers, I teach them the technique of backward planning. We start with the finished paper in mind. I show them a sample of a completed, excellent paper and then I ask them, “What’s the step that happened just before this student turned in this excellent paper?” They’ll answer that the student organized all the finished parts and did a final check to make sure everything was in the right order. I’ll then ask for the step that happened before that. I write each step on the board, forming a timeline from end to beginning. This back and forth questioning and answering keeps going until I bring them all the way back to where we are at present, the starting point. My students then have a clear picture of not only the final project I’m expecting, but also of the detailed steps they must take in order to successfully produce a quality research paper of their own.
God has done some backward planning for our lives. He wants to turn out men and women who resemble His Son. The end result is our glorification, but before that comes our justification (just-as-if-I’d never sinned). Before that, God calls whom He justifies. Before the calling comes predestination, and before predestination, comes the amazing omniscience of God; He knew us. In other words, thanks to the backward planning of God, we were declared to be “A” students even before we started the assignment.
known predestined called justified glorified
The Bible states this phenomenal plan in this way:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:28-31(NKJ)
All my students have to do is follow my plan and they’ll get an “A” on their research papers. Inevitably though, every year, I teach students who don’t believe that my way is best. They strike out on their own only to end up with disastrous results. Let’s not be that way with God. In the words of the old Four Spiritual Laws tract put out by Campus Crusade for Christ, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Just keep walking and working in the plan. “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” Romans 8:37.
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