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James 4:13-17

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boasting about tomorrow

recap the last few weeks. compassion Sunday and mothers day.
back to James
finishing up chapter 4
i would say to describe these verses, we need to get familiar with the word presumptuousness. it can mean being prideful, or crossing boundaries, or boasting.
before we start, i read this the other day...
According to a story in the Grand Rapids Press, the owner of a small foreign car had begun to irritate his friends by bragging incessantly about his gas mileage. So they decided on a way to get some humor out of his tireless boasting, as well as bring it to an end. Every day one of them would sneak into the parking lot where the man kept his car and pour a few gallons of gas into the tank. Soon the braggart was recording absolutely phenomenal mileage. He was boasting of getting as much as 90 miles per gallon, and the pranksters took secret delight in his exasperation as he tried to convince people of the truthfulness of his claims. It was even more fun to watch his reaction when they stopped refilling the tank. The poor fellow couldn't figure out what had happened to his car.
boasting can be hard to hear..... and God’s word has plenty to say about it.
James 4:13 ESV
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—
James is talking directly at the person or people who are being arrogant. He must have known that some were like this or was concerned that some were in a place such as this.
see what they are saying. Choosing a day, today or tomorrow, choosing a destination, to a town of their choosing, choosing a time frame, and knowing they would make a profit. we gotta ask ourselves.....what must they have thought of themselves, anyway? they certainly thought they were something.
maybe they thought that they were the ones in control of their own destiny? Controlling all that they could do and the outcome. this isn’t goal planning.... this is arrogance. and God speaks against pride. He doesn’t speak against making goals.

The heart of man plans his way,

but the LORD establishes his steps.

says The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
this is said many ways throughout scripture. we are talking making plans but also the sovereignty of God here.
but the LORD establishes his steps.
as for pride....
states Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
these people James is speaking about are not looking to the Lord for the way, but are walking in pride. what do they really know about tomorrow anyway?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
James 4:14 ESV
yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
he is getting to the point here..... no person knows what tomorrow brings. that is just the reality. we can think all will be as it is, or that we will be able to do what we wish, but only One knows for sure.
so why would they dare make plans without including the Lord? this should not be. then
he questions them, what is your life? this can be a very sobering question. what is your life. in thinking of time he says it is a mist, fog that appears how long? little time. then vanishes.
if we laid out a time line of this world, from the beginning to the end and looked at 70 or 80 years of it....that wouldn’t look like much. maybe a sliver is all. and some live their entire sliver without connecting with the One who created them.
think about your life..... however old you are, you may have had dreams, ambitions, plans, or ideas of how everything would turn out in your life. well, did it? was there anything unexpected that happened? if you are over 40, do you remember what your dreams were when you were 20?
God knows our lives. from beginning to the end. God has plans for us.
in light of their lives, James guides them on how to look at their plans.
James 4:15 ESV
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
bring the Lord in first and foremost to their plans. we know from the proverb we read earlier that it is the Lord that establishes our steps. He has a plan. for the world and our own lives. James here is trying to get them back on course.....and he continues to share the complete truth with them in the next few verses.
James 4:16 ESV
As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
this is a word of correction from the spirit of God to them. it had to be convicting. which is good, for the correction they needed. but can also be challenging because they are being called out. how easy is it to be called out? tough. but needed at times. it is a help. a course correction like a ship turning or plane adjusting to get back on course. Just like the ship or plane that needs course corrections at times, so do we. Our Father can do it directly, or a man or woman of God can. the challenge for the hearers is the need to accept it instead of stiffening the neck and fighting it. God will keep working to guide us towards Him, by the means He has.
James then steps back from speaking only to the few in this situation and expands a principle to anyone.
James 4:17 ESV
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
a bit of a definition here of sin. not doing the right thing. there are two categories for sin. the sin of commission, which is the very act of a sin, and the sin of omission. when a person doesn’t do what the right thing is. James is describing the sin of omission here. Obviously the right thing to do in this context is to go to the Lord with our plans and since He knows all our plans, it is the best place to go!
Let’s take this word, Maybe you are a person that seeks the Lord in all you do. good! keep doing it. Maybe you are a person that connects with these verses. Maybe you make your own plans and aren’t seeking the Lord in them. Let’s start today. Let’s be a church that seeks the Lord in all we plan. Let’s seek His will first......He is the One that knows all things. He is the One that can guide us in the right way.
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