By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Your plan might be to make it to the NFR or PBR finals. It might be to double the size of your herd. But God’s plan might be different. Guess which one is guaranteed to work out?

If you could do anything you wanted to do without having to worry about success or failure, how hard it will be to accomplish or what it could cost you to do it, most of us would jump at it, especially knowing the path to success was cleared ahead of us.

Sure, it could still be a lot of hard work but when it’s something we want to do, we are glad to put the work in. And while the path all the way to the end might not be clear, when we know there is a path to success already cleared ahead for us, then there’s really nothing to hold us back from getting started.

When we are doing what God wants us to do, that’s exactly what happens.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God has something prepared for you to do.

We can easily forget there’s a difference between our desires and God’s desires for us. We have to learn to think differently.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Our culture, the ‘world’ the verse in Romans is referring to, tells us how to measure success. In rodeo, it can be making it to the PBR finals or NFR. Locally, it can be seeing your client base as a farrier double or enough horses sold to build that bigger barn you need. It can be raising three kids that turn out to be good citizens.

What if that isn’t God’s will for you?

Paul is telling us we need to shift our thinking toward what God’s direction would be.

When we are trying to figure out what the right thing to do is, if we are being transformed as Paul mentions in Romans, then we know it will line up with scripture and that’s a good way for us to test and know if we’re doing God’s will versus following our own desire.

It could still be winning that rodeo on the weekend or qualifying for the NFR or it could be seeing your horse farm double in size. But if it is those kinds of successes, there will most definitely be opportunities through those to glorify God and point others to Jesus. It will never be just about ourselves.

And if we struggle on whatever path God has placed us on, how we struggle will glorify God. It will glorify Him if we learn from it and grow more Christlike and it will glorify Him if others see us approaching a challenge while remaining joyful.

Jesus has some encouraging words in John.

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

When we are following Jesus and his direction, there’s no reason we won’t find success. What we succeed at is determined by God and He we will get us there.

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