I use a planning calendar to help keep my life organized. Whenever there is an important event that I need to remember, I put it on my calendar and even establish a reminder that will alert me in advance. In addition to my calendar, I also use various apps that help me stay organized and I keep these apps synced between my laptop and iPhone. But even with all of this, I sometimes miss something important. In today’s study, James gives us three essential principles for making good plans.
James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. NKJV
PRINCIPLE #1 – ONLY GOD CAN PROPERLY PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
Though many of us make plans, none of us knows the future. We do not know what will happen tomorrow. For that matter, we do not know what will happen ten minutes from now. But God does. We read from the book of Isaiah, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’” (Isaiah 46:10 NKJV) God is so certain of the future that He has already declared how it will end even before it begins. If this is true, then it would be wise for us to make sure that our plans always fall in line with His plan. A great passage of Scripture we all need to memorize is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
PRINCIPLE #2 – OUR PLANS ARE ALWAYS CONTINGENT UPON GOD’S PLANS
“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” Along with my calendar and various apps, I also use a to-do list to help me accomplish what needs to be done. I plan not only for the immediate days ahead but also for the distant future. Even though I make great plans, I do not know if I will see those plans come to pass. James tells me that our life is like a vapor that is here today and gone tomorrow. Therefore, we need to preface all of our plans with “If the Lord wills, we will do this or that…”
PRINCIPLE #3 – WE SHOULD MAKE IT YOUR PRIMARY GOAL TO DO GOD’S WILL EACH DAY
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Because I use a digital calendar, reminders often pop up on my screen, reminding me of something important that I need to do. But I don’t always heed those reminders. Sometimes I ignore them. Whenever I do this, that particular task gets overlooked. The same can happen to us spiritually. God can lay something important before us, but if we’re not willing to be obedient, His will can be pushed aside and never get done.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV)
God bless you brethren.