The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the LORD weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.
(Proverbs 16:1-3 ESV)
Remember those days in school? It’s test day. You walk into that room, knowing that you haven’t studied a lick. The teacher has that crazed look in his eyes, you know, the look of a lion right before he jumps his prey. He hands out the test, and it is thicker than your Bible. You turn the test over, and begin reading questions, but none of them make sense. You are in deep trouble, and you know it. Then all of a sudden this fantastic idea hits you. Quietly you bow your head and pray, “Dear God. If you get me out of this one, I promise I will study every day. Please fill my head with the knowledge from this class by osmosis. Amen.”
Have you ever been there? This scenario not only plays out in school, it also takes place in our job, areas of service, and even our ministry in school. We tend to spend our lives flying by the seat of our pants and then hoping a quick prayer and some fancy footwork, and whalaa – God will make it look wonderful. God is concerned about your efforts in these areas of life, and His desire is to help you. But there is a better way. One of my religion professors in college gave me this verse as a verse to memorize and pray through right before a test. This verse tells us that if we will do our part in the efforts we undertake, God will always do His part. Don’t get me wrong, this passage does not teach that we are justified by works, or that we live by our works. All of life is the grace of God. This passage is speaking to the people of God and showing them how to live with God at the center of life. We have stuff to do in life. While all of life is grace, this does not mean that our approach to life is to be lazy and then hope that a quick prayer will get us out of a mess. Rather, it means that we do everything to the glory of God (Romans 10:31), which is what the author here means when he says “Commit your work to the Lord.” When we live life doing all things for his glory with all our might (Colossians 3:23) as if we are doing it for Him, God interacts with our efforts to prosper them for our good and His glory.
Here are four steps to committing your work to the Lord.
(1)Prepare – You cannot honestly say you have committed your work to God if you have not prepared yourself for the task at hand. In school, this means you must study. In your job that means that you do everything you can to be at the top of your game. You must prepare yourself mentally, and spiritually for all the challenges that you will face. In most cases, those last minute prayers will not work because God will only bless those who have committed their work to God. The Bible says that in whatever we do, we ought to do our work as if we were doing it for God. When you study for a test, get ready for a task at work, plan for your area of ministry at church, or do things to lead your family, prepare for them in such a way that it shows your desire to honor God.
(2)Pray – The second step to committing your work to God is to pray and ask Him to guide you and help you. God can give you the ability to do anything He wants. When taking a test, I used to get my Bible out and read this verse. Then I would pray, “God, I have studied this material as best I can, but now I must be able to apply that knowledge on this test. Please help me do the best job I can. Thank you that you will keep your Word in my life. Now as an adult, I use this passage in my prayers often when I am about to preach (the working out of my job). I have obeyed God by preparing, now I am asking him to use the efforts of my job to give Him glory.
(3)Power – My experience has been that when I prepared for the test properly, and prayed about it, God has given me total recall. This is not a formula; If I do “a”, then God must do “b”. Remember that Proverbs are principles for applying the wisdom of God in a fallen world. But when I live life this way, whether in school, job, ministry, or family, I have chosen to live my life under God’s blessing and He will work in life as a result. What is the difference? I do my work as if God were my teacher, and in return, God sends His Spirit to teach and lead me.
(4)Peace – When you commit your work to God, then you can be at peace with any outcome. If you did your best in studying, and then trusted God with your work, any grade is O.K., because the grade you get will be a result of God’s work in your life. If you commit your work to the the Lord in your job, then you can be at peace with anything that happens, even if you do not get a promotion or move up the ladder.
God is concerned about your life, and will establish your thoughts when you commit your work to Him.