Devotional: ‘If the Lord Wills…’

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James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 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.

Becoming prideful is an issue that many of us should always be aware of. Scripture teaches us that sin first began because of someone’s pride.[1] The archangel Lucifer boasted and said – “I will make myself like the Most High.” No longer did the angel Lucifer want to worship God. He now wanted to be worshiped as God. Later, when Satan enticed Eve to disobey, he appealed to her sense of pride. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” [2] In other words, you won’t need someone else to tell what you can and cannot do. You can be your own god.

Throughout the Bible we read of how God opposes those are prideful and egotistical. James tells us – “God opposes the proud…” [3]  These words mean that God intentionally resists those who are prideful. In today’s passage we read about those who boasted about all they planned to accomplish. “Tomorrow we are going to such and such a city and while we are there we will make for ourselves lots of money.” Perhaps what makes pride so sinful is that it is full of self-sufficiency.

Yet James gives a stern warning to those who are boastful. “You do not know what tomorrow will bring…” We do not know whether or not we will have the ability to do all that we have planned, or whether or not we will even be living. Tomorrow we may either be lying flat on our back in bed, or flat on our back in a coffin.

James’ words remind me of a story Jesus once told about a prosperous farmer who became self-sufficient.

“I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to the prideful man, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” [4]

James tells us that life is very fragile and therefore we should always preface all of our plans with – “If the Lord wills…”

If the Lord wills – we will be living tomorrow.

If the Lord wills – we will have strength to get out of bed and begin a new day.

If the Lord wills – we will strive to accomplish the things we have planned.

If the Lord wills – we will prosper.

But only –  if the Lord wills.

 

 

[1] Isaiah 14:12-15

[2] Genesis 3:4-5

[3] James 4:6

[4] Luke 12:15-21

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