Planning with a Sovereign God

Notes & Details

Service Date
Sunday, December 31, 2022

Speaker Preaching
Cody John Simpson


Sermon Notes

  • When I think of 2022 the passage that readily comes to mind is Proverbs 19:21
    • This really hits at the heart of most people’s New Years’ Resolutions. We always start by thinking we’re in the driver’s seat, or at least that we roughly know how everything is going to turn out. Foolish confidence am I right? 
    • This Proverb immediately confronts us with the sovereignty of God, or the control and power God has over all creation and time.
      • No matter what plans we people make, no matter how good or how many, only God’s plan will be the one that succeeds. We often don’t acknowledge this reality until something goes really wrong with our own plans. We ought not to forget this though.
  • James, the brother of Jesus, reminds us of this too in his letter, James 4:13-16
    • James is attacking our pride of life in this passage. We saw the sovereignty of God in the proverb, here James reveals the “believed sovereignty” we hold onto for ourselves. 
    • Now it’s not that we don’t believe that our plans can’t be thwarted (life experience throws cold water on that notion), but we act as though they can’t and then we don’t accept our plans being thwarted when they do. We hold onto our plans tightly and lose a deep sense of wellbeing when things prove to be outside our control and change. 
    • We are proud, and that pride is sinful – rejecting God’s guiding hand over creation, and James is warning his recipients to be humble in their future planning. 
  • I think God has been really showing us this truth over and over again every year for the past 3 years. Radically in 2020 our church’s plans were upended in ways we could never have imagined….
    • Again in 2022, we started out fighting a vaccine pass mandate and we’re meeting in secret, but by the summer we were meeting freely and baptizing more people than in any other year!
    • Whether in 2020 or in 2022 whatever plans we went in with changed, because God had something else in mind. 
  • Some who are planning-averse might take this as an opportunity to not plan, to not try and make goals for change in the new year, but that’s entirely missing the point. Proverbs assumes that people do plan, must plan, and that planning is good. James in correcting the sinful behaviour has not omitted the part that people should still plan ahead, and make changes in their lives. 
  • First: Do you want to plan ahead for 2023? Start with a humble heart. We cannot fathom all the contingency plans we would potentially need to gauge what God might be doing. The point is to embrace the truth that we are not in the driver’s seat. Cultivate humility and let go of our need to control our lives and environments – give that control up to God. 
  • Second, trust in His goodness. Remember Romans 8:28.
  • Third, seek to know God more deeply and intimately. We will be called time and time again to respond to what God is doing in our lives – throughout the year as things change. We need to know what God is like and how he wants us to be in order that we will respond in the right ways to God’s actions in and around our lives.


Make your resolutions, but then set them before God and accept with a humble heart that He may have other plans for you this year, and make yourself ready to step forward in faith with every change He brings your way.