Plans for Your Welfare . . . Jeremiah

Shopping for Confirmation cards, I noticed that a certain Bible verse is very popular: Jeremiah 29:11: For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

That’s a nice one, right? We latch onto those thoughts and a few minutes later they’ve morphed just a bit. Before you know it we’re thinking: God wants the best for me. Here, give me a pencil and I’ll order up the things I’d like¬†best. I’ll make a list and call it prayer. And God, please take notice of the diseases I don’t intend to suffer. No harm, right?

I heard Donald Miller speak at Messiah College recently. He mentioned how the culture of advertisement distorts our hearing of the gospel. Here’s how he put it: People leave the church because Christian culture overlays the facts of the Christian story onto the narrative of advertisement. Inevitably, this results in disillusionment.

I say Amen. When we expect Jesus to measure up to our expectations (shaped by a culture of advertisement), sooner or later we are disappointed. Jesus doesn’t deliver in a shiny way. But why do we expect him to?

We’ve absorbed the messages of our culture. We think that the Good News is that we’re special and deserve a certain level of comfort. It’s the prosperity gospel all over again, a gospel that is no gospel. It isn’t good news, it holds no truth, and it plain old makes Jesus sad.

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4 Responses to Plans for Your Welfare . . . Jeremiah

  1. rutheverhart says:

    “God has a plan for my life” is supposed to make people relax, I think, but to me it has the opposite effect.

  2. Becky Ramsey says:

    Great post. Very well said!

  3. Teri says:

    I think this also often morphs into “God has A Plan For My Life” (in the blueprint or script kind of way). I’m not sure that’s really the way it’s meant either…

  4. Simon Cozens says:

    I love putting that verse back into context – Israelites in exile, oppressed and wondering why. So the reason God needs to tell His people that He actually has good plans for them is because everything is going wrong and it looks like He doesn’t!

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