Let God be in control
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16
When the year is about to end you will notice how many day-planners are available in stores. Then there are the time-management self-help books teaching the readers on how to increase efficiency, how to make every moment count, how to invest time wisely and productively. All these items and handy products scream for your attention. At the beginning of the year you spent money to buy them yet by the end of the year you realized they did not help and you still waste so much time. From the text, James reminds the reader how easy it is for Christians to make plans and goals, expecting God to fall in line with them. It is easy to plan our lives as if we controlled the future and had unlimited authority over all factors affecting our life. It is quite simple to plan our lives as if God does not exist. God warns us against such self-centered planning. Worldly living does not always show itself in hatred for God. Sometimes it appears in the form of disregarding God as we plan life’s daily activities. Let us not forget that we have no sure knowledge of the future. We do not know whether tomorrow will produce a disaster. We often act as if we are secure. We forget that we may be here for a moment and then gone. By failing to accept this fact, we demonstrate arrogant self-sufficiency. Many of us have busy schedules. It is easy to plan those schedules without considering the will of God. Many of us have dreams for our job, our career, or our family. God wants us to work diligently in all of those areas, but we must consider His will first as we plan our goals. Doing the will of God demands an active listening for God’s goals and plans. We must plan for the future, but we must plan deliberately seeking the will of God. Let us not let His will become a strictly formal expression which lacks any spiritual meaning for us. We must remain spiritually alive to the necessity of building our plans around God’s desires. We must also avoid forcing and structuring our own will under the disguise of seeking God’s will. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you” (Psalm 37:4-5).
Noel De Guzman