In James 4.13-17 we see a strong word of counsel on our location and occupation as believers. Let’s read it and pray a BIG prayer after it.
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.
Most of us have grown up in a country or culture that highlights the fact that you need a life plan. Maybe when you were in high school this was really emphasised; what will you be, who will you be, where will you be, and how will you be? As a result, we’ve been conditioned to think that we are responsible for planning and guiding and bringing to fruition our own future and plans.
But, as a believer, as someone who has declared that you are not living for yourself anymore, as someone who has declared that you are living for the glory of God (BIG prayer #1), is this right?
Can you live for God’s glory yet still retain exclusive planning rights on your own life?
James says not. Rather than planning your own future, we ought to think “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that“. James is pretty clear that this is arrogant and sinful. If you are bold enough to pray today’s BIG prayer, be prepared to obey and submit to the guidance you receive. Think carefully before praying this one. You know you should, you know you want to, but as Jesus teaches in Luke 14.28-33, think deeply and count the cost because if you pray this, you could be on the move!
Lord, I know that anything I can plan for my life will be so insignificantly small and dull compared to the abundant life you want me to live. For my arrogant and sinful self-centredness in planning my own life I ask forgiveness.
I pray today that you would begin to show me what you want me to be, who you want me to be, where you want me to be, and how you want me to be.
I want to follow the example of Jesus and say “Your will be done, not mine”.