James 4:13-17 – What Boasting About the Future Says About Our Thoughts of God

We’re all interested in the future. We want to know what next year is going to bring. Some use tea leaves, palm readings, even astrology. The more sophisticated read books like Megatrends, trying to understand what the future holds. 

And planning for the future is wise. Proverbs 6:6-8 praises the little ant who plans ahead for his future.  But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. The apostle James, inspired by the Holy Spirit, spoke to the person going about it the wrong way.

The planner described in James 4 made three major mistakes, and I don’t want you to make them. As you plan for the coming year, three warnings from James will be helpful.

First, if you look at our planner, you’ll see he left God out of his plans altogether. He’s not consulting with God or seeking His will. He’s like so many today. Your worship life is one thing, your business life another—separated into the secular and sacred. You come to worship, and then plan as if there were no God. 

The biggest fool is not the man who says there’s no God, but the man who says there is a God, then doesn’t live like it. Have you taken God into your plans?

Next, beware of self-confident presumption. Our lives are like that—just a vapor—like that foggy breath you saw on this crisp, cold day. It’s there for a little while, then vanishes. Don’t boast carelessly about the future. We don’t know what it holds. We think, “I’m in good health, I’m young.” This may be your final year. Say, “Lord God, I don’t know what the future holds or how much more time I have. So Lord, help me not to waste time. Help me to apply my days unto wisdom. And Lord, may I live out the rest of my days, whether they be few or many, for You.” Don’t presume upon the time you have.

Then notice what comes next. Our planner is aware of God’s will but doesn’t want to do it. Boasting in himself and all he’s done, he’s complacent. It’s not that he says, “I will never do it.” He just doesn’t do it—self-complacent procrastination. 

So as you plan your future,

Beware of self-centered planning. Don’t leave God out of your plan.

Beware of self-confident presumption. You do not have a promise of tomorrow. Your life is like a vapor. What you’re going to do, do. 

Beware of self-complacent procrastination: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Adrain Rogers

Read James 4:13-17 and consider how you think about your plans for the future. How often do you consider God, his glory, and his purposes when you look towards the future? What can you do to grow in areas where this weak?

Sovereign Over Us by Shane and Shane

Posted on: June 11, 2020 - 10:00PM

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