James 4:13-17 ESV
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Are you a planner? In some ways I am, but in other ways I am not. I long to be organized, but often times I don’t achieve a very orderly lifestyle. With easily accessible calendars on all of our electronic devices, it is easier than ever before to plan and track future events. I have an app on my phone for selecting side work (sort of like odd jobs to help with our finances). Once I select a job, I can then select the calendar icon within the app, and add it directly to the calendar on my phone with the push of a virtual button.
With so many computerized personal devices at our fingertips, it has become so easy to plan, and organize one’s life. Many take advantage of our digital progress, but some, like me, still struggle to pull it all together for a more orderly environment. Could my procrastination actually be to my benefit?
We pick up Coffee with God today in James chapter 4 verse 13. James almost sounds as if he is condemning the art of meticulous planning. He calls attention to the fact that our lives are temporary. As a matter of fact, he compares the entire span of our life to a mere mist. I don’t suppose James had aerosol products in his day, but I always think of them when I read this passage. You can so vividly see the suspended droplets in the air when you press the button on the top of those aerosol cans. It looks like a blast of smoke, but is gone in seconds.
James reminds people of this temporary home we enjoy, and warns us about making all these future plans. It’s not that James wants us to be unorganized, though. We know this, because James also says, “Instead of talking about what you are, and are not, going to do, you should say, ‘if the Lord wills’ you will do this or that” (paraphrased). Verse 15 sounds like James just wants us to make sure we take into account the fact that our lives are temporary, we are humble servants of God, and we should include God in all of our plans. Maybe more to the point, we should submit ourselves humbly to God, and allow Him to guide us in His plans.
Simple really; James warns us about our arrogance. This does not just pop up out of thin air. In the previous verses we discussed yesterday (11-12), James was already talking about arrogance in a sense. He didn’t use the word arrogant, but he did point out that those who made themselves a judge over someone else is pretty arrogant. James just seems to be naturally building on that idea. It would most definitely be arrogant to assume you will do anything apart from that which the Sovereign God has planned.
Include God in your plans, or better yet, include yourself in God’s plan.