“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles” (Romans 1:11-13).
It is not wrong to make plans. To give as Christ commands, for example, requires planning—a Christian must purpose in his heart (2 Corinthians 9:7).
It is wrong to make plans which are not contingent upon God’s approval and providence (James 4:13-15). Clearly the apostle Paul had devised several plans to visit Rome in the days prior to writing this epistle, and—just as clearly—they had not come to pass.
Paul’s desire to visit Rome was not for nostalgic or scenic reasons; he did not want to go to Rome so he could see the sights. His focus was on spiritual things—to strengthen and establish his brethren (v. 11), to be encouraged by his brethren (v. 12), and to evangelize and convert the lost (v. 13).
Three important lessons about how a Christian ought to go about making plans can be gleaned from Paul: 1) Do make plans; 2) Do not be presumptuous in your plans; and 3) Focus your plans on spiritual things.