James 4

This week I decided to do a light purge of excess stuff that has piled up in my office. As I was going through things, I found an entire stack of empty binders. I normally make my plans and fill my binders with all of my ideas and schedules and details. This year was different. This year required me to set aside my plans, my binders, and my preferences as I had to go one day at a time. Much was accomplished, new strategies were formed, and connections were made. But for someone like me who thrives on plans in binders, it was a little tough to get used to at first, which is why this passage of Scripture resonates with me more after this year than it ever has before.

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”—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. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

James 4:13-17

Unfortunately, the trap of self-reliance is easy to fall into. It’s a trap that I’ve always had to intentionally watch for. Though this year has brought sorrow, hardship, sickness, and storms, it has also brought growth. It has been literally impossible to say what we will do tomorrow or where we will be next week. As I look back at the lessons of this year, it’s the seriousness of this passage that shines brightest. . .”If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” This should always be our posture in life, a true dependence on God and His will.

My prayer for us, church family, is that, as we enter into 2021, we will take the opportunity to give thanks for the good and the different that came out of this past year. That we would continue in our growth and understanding of fully leaning on God and His plans. We know the posture we should have, we know we should live humbly in the presence of our God, and we know that only He knows what tomorrow will bring. Let’s then live to glorify Him and set aside our own plans and preferences as we find new ways to seek Him and serve Him in the coming days, whatever they may bring.

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