January 2014

Focal Passage- James 4:13-17

James 4:16 “As it is, you boast in your arrogance.  All such boasting is evil.”

James is still talking about planning in this verse, but he is not saying that there is anything wrong with it.  As stated earlier, the Bible very clearly mandates that we should plan for both our families and our futures.  There is also nothing wrong with saying things like “I’m going to do this” or “I plan on doing that.”  It is not a sin to be driven or purposeful in one’s life.  However, the heart will betray if those things become sin when we examine our motivations for them.  I must ask myself if my plans have a foundation that is God-centered or am I making them as if I were in charge.  I am utterly dependent on God.  To plan and prepare as if I’m not is arrogant, boastful, and therefore sinful.  James’ warning must keep us mindful of where our hearts lie as we make plans for this lifetime.

Study/Meditation:  Timothy wrote in his first letter that the person who does not plan for his family is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)  How must you reconcile this teaching with James’ in his letter?

*Father, thank You for creating me the way that You did.  Help me to see the difference between God-honoring plans and those that are me-centered.  Forgive me when I stray to the second.  Amen.

Focal Passage- James 4:13-17

James 4:14b-15 “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.’”

George Bernard Shaw observed, “The statistics on death are quite impressive.  One out of one people die.”  Life on this earth is temporary, and we aren’t promised even the next breath of air.  An attitude that does not acquiesce to God’s complete sovereignty over all things, including our breathing, is one born of ignorance and pride.  It’s important that we keep in mind in all that we do that it is God who orchestrates and allows it.  It is He who is in charge, not us, and we demonstrate our knowledge of this fact in our hearts and in our attitudes about yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Keeping our minds set on “if the Lord wills” is displaying an attitude that submits to His authority over all things in our lives.

Study/Meditation:  How are you comforted by these verses in James’ letter?  How might you better display this submissive attitude to God?

*Father, I acknowledge Your sovereignty and authority over my life and over all things.  Forgive me when I attempt to go about my life as if this wasn’t true and help me to keep it ever-present in my heart.  Amen.