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How to Work Better: Spirit-Led Planning

start with a good mapIt’s summer! Who wants to work? Not me! But imagine: Planning more, acting less, and yet ending up with better results. This is the first in series on improving personal productivity, based on the first chapter in the Bible. Why start there? Think about it; God gave us a whole chapter describing how He made everything. Most believe Genesis chapter one is a myth or merely poetry. Big mistake. Others get caught up in the young earth/old earth debate. Big distraction. Join me in learning from our Creator how we can improve our work habits by copying some aspects of His working style. Clearly we are not God; we cannot command things into existence. But we are made in His image as creative beings and therefore we enjoy creative activities. Let’s learn from our Creator, starting at the beginning.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving (literally ”hovering”) over the surface of the waters,” Genesis 1:1-2.

Before God did anything, before He even spoke, the Spirit of God was moving and hovering over the chaotic and undefined worksite. Why? There was nothing to see. Everything was “formless, void, and dark.” I believe the Spirit of God was moving, hovering, and visualizing what would soon happen—what God would do. The Spirit viewed the situation from various perspectives. The only other time this Hebrew word is used, it describes and eagle circling its nest in Deuteronomy 32:11. I believe the Spirit of God was thinking, contemplating, and planning. He looked at the mess from many angles before He even said or did anything. It’s like Nehemiah when he walked around the ruined walls of Jerusalem, before the construction started (Nehemiah 2:13-14). My point is this: Clear, careful, unhurried thought should precede words and actions if we want good results. Even better, we should pray about the problem—involve God in the process—before we try to solve it. We have maxims for it: Look before you leap; begin with the end in mind; the journey of 1,000 miles does not begin with the first step, but with a good map.

Notice that the Spirit of God was active before the Word of God spoke. Spirit first; Word second. God is a God of order, not confusion. Random, mindless, haphazard action (the core of the theory of evolution) is totally foreign to the God of the Bible. God is not a bozo. He does not use trial and error, along with a trillion repetitions to get things right. Darwinism is pure nonsense. The Spirit of God is a spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and strength (Isaiah 11:2). The Spirit acts first. The Bible indicates that when the Spirit and the Word dance together, the Spirit “leads” the dance. Lesson? THINK before you speak or act. Pondering may look like laziness, but it’s not. Our goal is productivity, not merely activity. “It is not good for a person to be without knowledge and he who hurries his footsteps, errs,” Proverbs 19:2. Application? Plan before launching into word or action.

But be careful. Not all planning is good planning. “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares, the LORD. Who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin,” Isaiah 30:1. All planning that excludes the Spirit of God is bad planning. Jesus’ public ministry started with the Spirit at His baptism. We are born again by the Spirit of God. The disciples were told to wait in Jerusalem until Pentecost for the Spirit of God to fill and lead them. At the very beginning of any project, make sure the Spirit of God starts the process. Ask the Holy Spirit for His direction. “Not by power, nor by might but by my Spirit,” says the LORD of Hosts (Zechariah 4:6).

Tom Lipp

What is True Conservatism?

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