“When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’” Matthew 28:12-13 NIV
The soldiers who had been guarding the tomb of Jesus, had been the first to witness the empty tomb. They went to the religious leaders to tell them everything that had happened instead of to their Roman superiors. The religious leaders “devised a plan” to twist the information they received. They “devised a plan” to serve their purposes.
Imagine if the soldiers had gone to their Roman superiors with their experience instead of going to the religious leaders that denied that Jesus was the Messiah. It may have triggered a curiosity among the Romans about Jesus that would have surpassed the religious leaders bias.
The soldiers went to the religious leaders who “devised a plan” to use the information they received to promote their own agenda.
What do you do with what God has shown you or said? How do you use the information you receive about what is happening or has happened among the followers of Jesus? About His church? Do you devise a plan, consciously or subconsciously, to use what God has shown you or spoken to you to promote your own agenda? To further your personal goals? Do you devise a plan, consciously or subconsciously, to use the information others share with you about the church to divert attention to what you believe should be happening or should have happened?
Submit all things to the Lord! Let every report that you hear be used to point to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Let all the information that you receive be used to devise a plan to make Jesus famous, to bring salvation to the lost, deliverance to the bound and good news to the heartbroken and the poor.
Devise a plan that will prepare you to seek God for wisdom, discernment, guidance and nobility so that when you receive any and all information, you give it to the Lord in prayer. Seek the Holy Spirit, who is with you always, to direct you in what you are going to say, how you are going to behave or what you will do whenever you receive a report about the Church.
Lord, as I stand before you in prayer, I ask that you forgive me for the many times that I have received information about your church and I have devised a plan to use it for my purposes and not yours. Forgive me for not devising a plan that includes reading your Word, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, living a Christlike life that will prepare my heart to make noble plans that will bring glory to you.
I want your wisdom to build up your house, and your understanding to establish it. I want every room of your house, every congregation in my region to be filled with Your treasures.
Regardless of my plans or others, Your purposes, O Lord, will prevail!
Finally, Lord, I ask that my mind be kept on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, help me to think on these things and these things alone.