January 17 – God’s Will – God’s will and our plans

Read James 4:1-17

We have all done it.  It doesn’t matter if you are a business executive charting out a course for your division that will keep things moving up and to the right.  It doesn’t matter if you are a person making arrangements for your annual vacation.  It doesn’t matter if you are a “list person” who rights down all of the things that you will do tomorrow.  Every one of us has, at some point (and probably regularly), made plans for the future.

Do you incorporate the Lord into that process of making plans?  Ouch!  Guilty as charged.

The imaginary person in the last verses of James 4 somehow looks similar to the person I see when I look in the mirror.  This business person had developed a clear plan.  Perhaps his colleagues and his boss even applauded him for it.  His departure and return were pretty clear.  His strategy for doing business was in place.  The profitable outcome seemed guaranteed.

But there was one thing he had not included in the planning . . . God’s will.  That is one thing that we can easily overlook.  We make plans for tomorrow’s tasks, next year’s vacations, and even what retirement will look like while often forgetting that we do not really know what tomorrow may bring.  We make plans for the future without calculating in the fact that there is but one who knows and holds the future.

So what needs to change?  Do we give up all planning and strategizing?  Certainly not.  That is not the point that James is making.  Instead, we should seek to incorporate God into the planning process.  And, even once we have arrived at a tentative plan, we must hold onto it loosely.  We must remember that it is only “if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (v. 15).

So what plans do you have for today?  How about tomorrow?  What about next week?  Later this year?  Years from now?  Do you need to surrender all of those things to the Lord and to His will?  Now is a great time to begin to do that.  And the rest of life will provide a great opportunity to continue to practice that surrender.

Steve Kern

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