“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:13-17 NASB1995https://bible.com/bible/100/jas.4.13-17.NASB1995
“Make the plans, don’t plan the results!” Oh, how many times I’ve heard that ….. and ignored it! In verses 6, 10, 16, James points out how we need humility in regards to the future. James begins this passage with the phrase “Come now”. He’s telling us, “Pay attention!” Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed. In Romans 15, Paul is planning to go to Spain, “by the will of God.” Plans are good; planning – and counting on your results – is not.
The problem is the plans we make without God. It is presumptuous, and without prayer, the plans are made with boasting and arrogance. It is good to plan, but realize that the future is UNKNOWN. Read Job 7:6-7, 14:1-2, Psalm 39:4-5, 102:3, 102:11, 103:15-16. Someone remarked about life: I was awake, I blinked, and it ends. We can’t “bank” time.
“Now my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, they see no good.” Job 9:25 NASB1995https://bible.com/bible/100/job.9.25.NASB1995
So what do we do? Verse 15: Submit our plans and aspirations to the LORD. Also Proverbs 3:5, 16:1, 19:21 “IF the LORD wills… !” Deo valente, means God willing (DV). Read Paul’s letters. Acts 18:21, 1 Corinthians 15:7, he uses “God willing” and “if God wills” frequently. Acknowledge God’s Sovereignty over all life. Write your plans in pencil, not in ink. Begin each day in prayer, thanking Him for His help and guidance. Remember, He is in control. Make the most of today. Enjoy it. Life is not a right, it is a gift, a daily gift from God.
As followers Christ, we know the right things to do. It is wrong, a sin, to not do what we know is right. The most important plan we can ever make is the plan for eternity. A foolish person is someone whose plans ended at the grave.