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. - James 4:15-16
God is sovereign, we are not. Far too often we go about our lives, making plans and trusting in ourselves, without any consideration to God. We only bring Him in when things get rough - that’s not how we’re supposed to live. He wants to be a part of our everyday plans.
It’s not that the people James was speaking about were wrong in planning to go work hard and make a profit. God mentions both planning and working hard in scripture as good things, and we are told we will reap financial benefits if we do. It wasn’t their actions that were wrong, it was their mindset. They were going about planning for their future without God. Their trust wasn’t in Him, but it was in their business ventures. They acted as if they were in charge of their future, assuming if they made solid plans, everything would turn out great.
We do this in our own lives all the time, don’t we? We spend a great deal of energy planning out our lives, looking toward retirement, deciding what what career we want and where we want to live, who we want to marry and how many children we will have with very little considerations to what God wants for us. We dream about what the future will be like for us and for our children. One thing I have come to learn in this world is that things don’t always go according to plan. Things in our perfect little plans will go wrong, sometimes very wrong, and our world will be rocked. Cancer, unemployment, addiction, adultery, divorce and death. These trials enter our lives and turn our plans upside down. We’re left without hope because we’ve clung to the hope our plans instead of the hope in Him.
James reminds us when we move forward without Him, it is arrogance and that arrogance is pure evil. James is warning us against the kind of pride that takes the reigns of our lives right out of the hands of God and determines what is best for us. We place God on a shelf, and choose when to pull Him down. When we go to church on Sunday or we are around our Godly friends, He can come down, but for the rest of the time, we tuck Him away neatly and don’t pay much attention to Him. We certainly don’t consider what He wants for our lives when we’re making plans.
That kind of pride is pure evil. God is sovereign over this world He created, and He will allow your plans to be laid to waste to get your attention. He wants the evil of pride out of your heart, He wants to humble you and for you to live your life in a glorifying submission to Him. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to draw us to a place of complete dependence on Him by taking away everything false hope we’ve held on to in our lives - our job, our home, our marriage, our children, our relationships, our reputation. He allows these things to crumble so we see Him, and so we understand His sovereignty.
And when we do, He gently walks us to a place where we truly understand what it means to say, “If the Lord wills” - not as a simple platitude as some will use it, but a true surrender of our hearts. When that happens, our lives and our plans are blessed with a peace and a hope we cannot find anywhere else in this world.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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