“13 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.” 14 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. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” James 4:13-17 NIV
What do you intend to do when you retire (if you aren’t already retired)?
Where are you planning to go on your next vacation?
When is the next time you are taking some time off from work?
When is your next family get-together?
There are some things we don’t need God to speak to us about. Because our desires are to go on vacation… to retire… to get away from the job for awhile… to see the family, we readily make plans and arrangements for the future. James would ask here, “What about your plans with God?”
Did you share the Gospel with someone this week? I didn’t feel the Lord leading me too.
Are you going to be in worship service this weekend? If the Lord is willing.
Are you going to serve the Lord in the ministry? I have to pray and ask God about it.
If you know there is something that you need to do that would be pleasing to the heart of God, why pray about it? Don’t delay. Obey today.
I remember an important lesson I learned from my wife’s mentor. When my wife asked if she would pray about mentoring her, our friend quickly said, “No. I’m not going to pray about that. I know it would be pleasing to God, so I don’t need to pray about it. Of course I’ll mentor you.”
In James 4, the brother of Jesus is not discouraging us from planning and doing. He is discouraging us from planning and doing outside of the reliance upon the Lord. We boast of our plans. Our hopes. Our dreams. Our successes. James is reminding the early church… and us today… to boast in the Lord. Boast in what Jesus has done. Boast in what the Holy Spirit is doing today.
James 4:17 explicitly tells us, “17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
Sin, James would argue, is not only in doing the wrong things. A more subtle and potentially dangerous sin might be in NOT doing the right things. If you know what is right, don’t wait for God’s leading. Do it! “Don’t delay!” James would say. “Obey today!”
Lord Jesus there are far too many times when I plan apart from my reliance upon You. Increase my boldness to brag on You. Increase my reliance upon Your Word. In the strong name of Jesus Christ. Amen.