James 4:13-17. TRUST GOD FOR TOMORROW- 6-3-19 devotional

James 4:13-17. TRUST GOD FOR TOMORROW- 6-3-19 devotional

James 4:13-17         Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 4:15       6-3-19

“15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” (ESV)

Dear Lord, thank you for the last three days of rest. Help me to focus on Christ and meditate on your word. I pray that you bless this summer. May it be filled with love, joy peace, goodness. May it be a summer of spiritual growth. Grant me your word in my heart today. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: Trust God and Not In The Wisdom of Your Own Plans (13-14)

Verses 13-14, “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.” (ESV)

James was trying to help the members of the church to view their lives in the proper perspective, in the perspective of eternity and of God’s sovereignty. Apparently, there were some people who were trusting in their own human abilities to make money and do business. They were making all kinds of future plans to try to make their future security certain.

James wanted them to trust in God. He tells them the facts, that they do not know what tomorrow will bring. The reality is, their lives are but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. He did not want them to trust in themselves and in their own planning abilities and skills to make money in order to secure their future. They may not live long enough to engage in their next business trip. He wanted them to always put their faith, hope and trust in God who holds their lives in his hands.

There is nothing wrong with going from town to do business and make money. Of course, it should never consume a person and make them ignore Jesus and the will of God for their lives. But every society needs business people. If there were no business people then we would be subsistence farming and living with the barter system. James was talking about trusting God with their future. Our lives are like a mist that appears for a little while, then vanishes. So, we must put our trust in the eternal, unchanging God.

This has implications with serving the Gospel mission. For example, what if there was an important mission that a person was called to serve in the church and they had to reschedule a business trip? They need to be flexible to keep priorities. It might mean a loss of money for their business. But they need to trust God with their future and their finances. What does Matthew 6:33 say, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (ESV) Without this attitude and faith one can never follow Jesus to distances he wants to lead them. They will only follow Christ if their tight schedules allow it.

More often than not I feel that I know best. I hold onto my plans and become inflexible even to God. Why? It is because there are times when I lack trust in Jesus. I need to trust in Jesus and his plans, even when it has to do with business and making money…even if it means losing money. I need to trust God in regards to ministry. He knows the most fruitful path to take. I may think that my ministry plans are the most fruitful, but they are not.

Part 2: Be Flexible Enough To Follow The Will of God (15-17)

Verses 15-17, “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.” (ESV)

In our generation, some people dream about how they will spend a vacation, or about how wonderful life will be after graduation, or after marriage, or after they get a job, or after they retire. Others plan the great things they will do for God someday. It is good to have plans and dream about the future. But we need to be ready to cope when our plans or life circumstances are changed by God.

I think this passage is teaching us to be flexible enough to follow the will of God. Future plans seem to give security and direction. Some people insist on clinging to their plans, no matter how the world may change. But the world is indeed uncertain. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. We should not cling to the false security of our own plans. We need to cling to God and his plans for us and be flexible, dynamic and elastic in regards to the will of God.

We also need to hold on loosely to our own plans for our own sakes. When plans don’t work out the way we expect and want, then we could become crushed. I see it at the hospital. Some patients are in very difficult medical conditions. But yet they talk about plans for travel or visiting relatives in some far-off city or country. I think to myself, “You are not going anywhere.” Some patients don’t want to face the fact that they are no longer able to go anywhere. What about the high school student who has all of these plans for college and a career but things just don’t work out? It could be a time of deep soul searching and sometimes sorrow and regret.

This can also do with mission. Imagine a person who wants to be a missionary. They have all of these plans to go. They spend years trying to go and preparing themselves. But things just don’t work out the way they expect. They find that God has different plans. If they are not flexible to follow God’s plan for their life, and let their plans go, even if their plans are Christian plans, then they can be crushed. Jesus’ disciples always need to be flexible, dynamic and elastic.

This passage also teaches us that we must not put off doing the work God has given us to do–for tomorrow may never come. We put things off because our own plans have priority. We postpone things, thinking that God’s plan can be done later. But with God’s plans come God’s timing. God is fulfilling his plan. He is orchestrating his events. We, as his followers, need to follow the Lord, not on our own time schedule but according to his time schedule. We need to be in step with the Holy Spirit. Then God can work through us powerfully.

When it comes to plans, I need to say, ““If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” I don’t mean this in terms of citing some empty Christian cliché. I need to say it from the heart. I still also need to make plans. But I need to have faith enough to let those plans go if God shows me some other path that he has chosen.

Prayer:Lord, help me to do your work today with all my heart, and to trust you for tomorrow.

One Word: Trust God and follow the Lord even if it means changing your plans.

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