the four p’s of life

When President Ronald Reagan appointed the Rogers’ Commission in 1986 to investigate the Shuttle Challenger disaster, he chose Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong as its vice-chairman. Seventeen years earlier, Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon and Reagan likely realized that his presence on the commission would give it a high level of credibility with the American public.

As the investigation unfolded, Armstrong observed that the shuttle program lacked the kind of clear objective that defined the moonshot program. From 1961 to his setting foot on the moon in 1969, each flight served a specific purpose that helped achieve the goal of landing on the moon. That was in stark contrast to the shuttle, which had become a high-priced, high-tech semi-truck delivering cargo into orbit. Armstrong’s point can be applied to our own lives. When we lose sight of God’s purpose and plan for our lives and live aimlessly day to day, we too can be headed for disaster. That’s why it’s important for Christ-followers to remember the 4 Ps of walking with Jesus:

1.       God’s Purpose:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV). When we surrender to God and trust Him with our lives, we know that all things work for our good. When His purpose is our purpose, each day builds toward achieving God’s goal for us.

2.       God’s Plan:

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16 (NIV). The astronauts did not develop the plan to go to the moon, they simply followed it to the letter. Deviating even a bit from the course scientists and engineers had plotted could be deadly. The same is true for us. God’s plan for our lives was put in place before the beginning of time. When we choose to freelance and follow our own plan is when disaster looms.

3.       God’s Provision:

…do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV). When we don’t trust God’s plan and purpose, we start to lose faith in His ability to provide for us. That’s when we start freelancing and believe we need to control our lives. And that is a recipe for disaster.

4.       God’s Promise:

Jesus promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit as our advocate, and: I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:18-20 (NIV). The astronauts weren’t on their own: they had Mission Control to guide them. They received constant instructions and had a printed flight plan to follow.

God does the same for us. If we ask, listen and say yes, He is our spiritual Mission Control. And His flight plan is the Bible. We can stay on course because God has a purpose, a plan, a provision and a promise for our lives. If you haven’t already, I pray you begin trusting Him today and your course will always be true.

— Pastor Jerry Bader

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