Planning without regard of God
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16 NIV
Pride is not a new thing. It began even before this world was created. The first swelling of pride was in the heart of Lucifer (see Isaiah 14:12–14). It led to him being cast out of heaven and becoming Satan, the adversary of God and of the people of God. From that sad beginning so long ago, pride has rambled through human history. It has never gone out of existence. James could see it in his readers. He wrote the words of our text in order to warn them about the manifestation of it. We have a tendency to talk about our plan without any regard with the brevity of life. We talk as if we are in-charge of our life, yet we are not. How easily we forget what life is like! It is a mist! It is like the morning fog that lingers only in the early morning hours and vanishes when the sun rises. And when the sun rises, it doesn’t take long for the fog to vanish! So, we have to quit acting as if we are in control. That is pride! James says, ‘Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” ’ (v. 15). The Bible is not suggesting that we actually have to say those exact words every single time we are planning to go somewhere or to transact some business; although it would not be a bad idea to say them frequently! Rather, James is talking about always keeping in mind that God is in control, and none of our plans ever supplants or overrides his plans. The eternal God has made us for eternity, and to eternity we must go. “He has also set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). And the eternity that awaits us is one either of bliss or of woe! So let us live with God and eternity weighing much on our minds. We constantly have the tendency to make this life the main event and eternity a footnote. Eternity is the main event, and only a fool lives as if this life is all that there is.
Noel De Guzman