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Boasting About Tomorrow October 10, 2015

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on James 4:13-17.

Summary: James begins by provoking his readers to think, as they are confident of their own wisdom and hard work in their undertakings – without the blessing and permission of providence. He asserts that every day brings new events with it, and life passes very quickly; thus, they should always submit to God’s will. At this time, they are foolishly predicting their own successful efforts; they are driven by pride and wretched complacency. James concludes by addressing a potential objection to his teaching – that his readers already know it; he replies that this obliges them to submit to God’s will.

Thoughts: In this passage, James exhorts his readers to submit to God and acknowledge His sovereignty – instead of assuming that they control their own destinies. Manton offers some insights on this point in his commentary on verse 14:

We have no assurance of our lives and comforts or the events of the next day. This is a common argument; the heathen used it a lot. So then, let every day’s care be enough for itself; live every day as the last day. Petrarch tells of someone who, when invited to dinner the next day, answered, “I have not had a tomorrow for many years.” And Ludovicus Capellus tells us of one Rabbi Eleazer who advised people to repent only the day before their death – that is, right now (for it may be the last day before we die).

While reading the daily news can be depressing, it reminds me of my frailty and the uncertainty of my life. It is natural for me to focus on this life and its inherent pleasures; at those times, I neglect God’s sovereignty. Moreover, it is natural for me to make plans for the future, where my desired goals are achieved with God’s assistance – even if those goals do not glorify Him. The challenge for me, then, is to focus on God on a daily basis and consider how I can glorify Him on that day. That may appear to be a mundane calling, yet I have found that God can provide true satisfaction – and humble me in the process – by enabling me to perform small acts for His Kingdom. I still believe that God calls believers to make plans for the future, yet He desires us to strike the proper balance between making those plans and obeying our daily call to honor Him.

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