This article on James 4:15 is about our plans and the will of God for our life.

Source: Clarion, 2009. 2 pages.

James 4 – The Year of our Lord

Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’.

James 4:15

As we enter into the New Year, many people begin to think about what it’s going to be like and about all that they hope to do. On the other hand, there are some who don’t dwell much on the future and who just prefer to take life as it comes. Some Christians may even feel that this is how it ought to be. They point to what we confess about God’s providence and they say that since He rules over creation and that nothing happens by chance, we should just leave what’s going to happen to Him.

This sounds quite pious, but the Bible never says that we can’t think about what’s coming and prepare for it. The Apostle Paul spoke often in his letters about the plans that he had made. For example, he told the Romans about how he hoped to visit them.

Thinking about what might happen and working so that things turn out positively is not necessarily an act of unbelief. As long as we do this with the right attitude and give God a place in our plans, we aren’t denying his sovereign rule over our lives.

James 4 encourages us to make our plans in this way, but not before describing what we shouldn’t do. We hear about business people who have such confidence in their plans that they are sure everything will go just the way they want. And of course, it’s not just in our work and business that we can think this; the same kind of attitude could affect the plans we make in any part of our life.

The problem isn’t that we make these plans, but it’s when we don’t leave any room for unforeseen circumstances. It’s wrong for us to be so proud of ourselves that we are convinced everything is under control and that nothing will stop us from getting or doing what we want.

From time to time we need a reality check, and this is what comes next in James 4. The passage makes us think about the way things really are and about how little control we actually have over anything. None of us knows what’s going to happen tomorrow – never mind what’s going to happen all of next year!

Since we can’t foresee how our future is going to unfold, we can’t trust in ourselves for security. At the same time, we shouldn’t look to other people for this security either. Our bosses can’t guarantee our continued employment, nor can the government ensure that the economy will keep going nice and steady. While both our employer and the government will certainly impact our lives, there are so many things that are beyond their control, things that can change our lives quickly and significantly.

We can only find real security when we trust in our Lord and include Him in our plans. We express our faith in Him by saying with our text: “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” What’s going to happen in the future is ultimately not based on what any of us want, but it’s based on what the Lord wants for us. We can’t see the future, but the Lord sees everything that will happen and He directs it all according to his plan for our salvation. Christ rules over all creation for the sake of his church and because He loves us, we can trust in Him.

We can plan for the New Year, but we must also keep the Lord at the centre of our plans and of all that we’ll do to accomplish them. Trust in Him because the New Year will be his to guide as He knows best! We express our faith in this truth when we add the letters A.D. to the year 2009. These two letters represent the Latin phrase Anno Domini or “The Year of our Lord.”

So make your plans for this year, but don’t worry whether or not everything will work out the way that you planned. Worry robs us of the ability to enjoy the blessings that the Lord promises to grant us. Instead, give your future over to Christ and believe that since this year is his, we who are his will also be secure and blessed in his love. If we go forward into the New Year with this faith, then we can be joyful even when things are uncertain and even when circumstances in our lives go differently than we had planned or hoped.

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