(James 4:13-16) 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.
Plans. I love making plans. I like something to look forward to and an aim to shoot at. If that is missing from my life I tend to get bored and unmotivated. But when I have a goal I have something to strive for and that makes me live purposeful. But are our plans from God or are we making them up ourselves? Have we sought the Lord on His will for our lives? Or are we assuming that what looks good and attractive is from God? Let’s see what scripture says about making plans in the will of God.
James is referring to the ambitious type who are very idea oriented. Something pops into their head and they run with it. Ideas are great but how important it is to submit them back to the Lord and wait on Him. We must give God the veto rights over our ideas. Perhaps it is from the Lord and He will give us the green light. Maybe the idea is good but for a future time. Or maybe God will say no. Sometimes we don’t wait on the Lord because we are afraid He will say no. But we must remember Father knows best. Perhaps He is trying to save us from some kind of harm or painful results we don’t see. Or maybe He has something better for us.
James tells us our life is short like a vapor that comes and goes so quickly. Isn’t that true? Look how fast your life has gone already. And the older you get the faster time flies! So why would we take the precious time we have here on earth and run our ship off course and hit the rocks? We need to put our life into God’s hands so He can direct our life to where He wants it to go. And how do we do that? By always submitting our plans to the will of God. “. . . not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) “And this will we do, if God permit.” (Heb 6:3) Anything outside of that is boasting, says James, and this matches the wisdom of the wise when it says: Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. (Pro 27:1)
Do you remember how people came together in the ancient world to build the tower of Babel? God didn’t like them planning outside of Him. He came down and destroyed the tower and confused their languages. (Gen 11) Do you remember David wanting to build a Temple for the Lord and how even Nathan said to go for it? God told Nathan to go back and say it wasn’t for David to build the Temple. It would be for his son (Solomon) to build it. (2 Sam 7) But God did let David at least plan for the Temple, which he did by the direction of the Lord: (1 Chr 28:12) and the plans for all that he had by the Spirit . . .
I like how God instructed Moses about how to build the Tabernacle. He said: And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain. (Exo 25:40) God, in a sense, gave Moses a blueprint to follow and He followed it all the way down the line to the smallest aspects. The Tabernacle turned out beautiful and functional and lasted many years because Moses obeyed God as to the details.
I don’t have a master plan for my life. But I do have the Master’s plan. What a great way to live! I’m an idea person and I used to run with any notions that entered my head. Sometimes I wouldn’t wait for God and I would fall flat on my face. How much better to make Jesus the Head of all! (Eph 4:15) There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. (Pro 19:21)