God and our plans
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. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.? James 4:13-17 NLT
James, from the text, continues to discuss about the sin of pride. This happens when we make plans without regard to God. We would talk about going to “a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit” (v. 13). We are talking as if we are in charge of our lives, and we realize we are not. James reminds us that if we have this attitude, we had not factored into the equation the shortness and unpredictability of life. We could talk about one place, that city over there, and, before we could get there, we end up in another place—eternity. We could talk about a period of time, this year or next, and, before that period began, we find ourselves in the realm of the timeless. How easily we forget what life is like! It is a “morning fog” or a vapor! It is like the mist 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 vapor to vanish! The admonition is very important. We need to quit acting as if we are in control. That is pride! “‘What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that’” (v. 15). James 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, he is talking about always keeping in mind that God is in control, and none of our plans ever supplants or nullifies His plans and His will for our lives. The eternal God has made us for eternity. God “has planted eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). And to eternity we must go. The eternity that awaits us is one of either of bliss or of woe. Since that is the case, 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. Time is passing on! Don’t trust your possessions. They will soon belong to someone else. Don’t count on your career. It will soon be over. But count on this: eternity is rapidly approaching, and only those who have taken refuge in Jesus Christ can face it. “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory” (Romans 5:1-2).