James: How to Face Your Future
James 4:13-17 continues to show us practically how to live as James addresses how we should look to the future. He begins in verse 13 with "Come now", which means, "listen up!". As he shares an example of how so many live, there is a glaring omission of God. We often make plans and then ask God to bless those plans. Instead, we should seek God first and have Him guide us!
1. Face your tomorrows by planning without assumptions.
It takes humility to admit that we don't fully know what is going to happen. In verse 14a, we see a qualitative statement by James reminding the people who they are (Prov 27:1; Luke 12). He is reminding us that whatever our last day is, it is a good day because we will step into the presence of God. He goes on in verse 14b to make a quantitative statement in saying, "What is your life?" He compares life to a mist. We are here for a short time and then vanish.
2. Face your tomorrows by LIVING today.
If you had 1 week left on earth, who would you call, who would your drive to see, and what would you give away? Verse 15 says we ought to say, "If the Lord wills". We must remember that the soul He gave us is His. We should live each day for Him. Verse 16 warns us that "boasting in your arrogance" is evil. At the beginning of creation, pride was what got us into trouble, and it still wrecks lives today. Remember, spiritually speaking, you can trust Him.
3. Face your tomorrows with open hands.
Verse 17 says, "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." This speaks to the sin of omission, which is failing to do something that you should have done. Friendship to the world instead of friendship to God leads to a lack of listening to Him.
4. Face your tomorrows by living with an obedient heart today.
To Discuss Today:
1. Do you plan with assumptions? In what circumstances?
2. How are you really LIVING today?
3. In what ways are you living with open hands?
4. Name the last instance where you know you had an obedient heart?