Is God in the center of every plan you make?
Think of someone you would describe as arrogant. What are the traits and attributes possessed by this arrogant person? Hopefully, we would never fit the description of arrogance, right? But is it possible that in the eyes of James, the brother Jesus, we just might be described this way?
In the fourth chapter of his New Testament letter, James describes the fallacy of living life without making provision for God’s plan. As he attempts to get the attention of some people who have carefully planned a year of travel for the purpose of earning a living, James calls them out for not remembering the brevity of life. More importantly, he calls them out for excluding God from their planning process.
James compares the lives of his audience to a vapor that “appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Then he states, “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that’” (James 4:15). Ultimately, he goes on to describe their planning process without God as boastful and arrogant.
Again, we would never fall into the category of boastful arrogance – would we?
The first half of 2020 has been a powerful reminder that our best-laid plans can change both radically and quickly. A new normal is being defined in our culture, and it appears that some of the things we have taken for granted might be forever different. In light of all that is going on, how can this inspired advice from James help us today?
First, it will bless us to live every day with the eternally important in mind. After all, God has provided an eternal solution that holds up against any negative circumstance of life.
Next, it will bless us to ensure that God is always the centerpiece of every choice and every plan. The goal should be to never plan anything for which the Lord’s full blessing cannot be invoked.
Finally, it will bless us to highly value today. Before describing our lives as vapor, James states, “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow” (James 4:14). Yet, how often do we fall into the trap of ignoring the blessings and opportunities of today because of directing most of our energy toward planning tomorrow? Whether or not we always vocalize the words, “if the Lord wills,” our lives should always reflect that we never plan anything without God.
Philip Goad began his work as minister at North Highlands Church of Christ in Russellville in March of this year. He is married to Marla, and they have a daughter, Kayla Thorne, who is married to Josh. They also have a son, Preston, and one grandchild, Greyson Thorne.