Summary: Every Christian must live his life according to God’s will.

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JAMES 4:13-17

BIG IDEA: Every Christian must live his life according to God’s will.


ILLUSTRATION Dr. Auguste Nelaton, (Nelaton Catheter) the great French surgeon, once said that if he had four minutes in which to perform an operation on which a life is depended, he would take one minute to consider how best to do it.

For this surgeon, planning is an essential tool to make sure that each minute of his time is use wisely and significantly.

In real life situations, planning is also essential but the challenge is we don’t know how much time we have to implement our plans.

ILLUSTRATION That is why someone said “Make long-range plans as if you are going to live forever, and live today as if it were your last day on earth.”

Living is a tough endeavor and yet many are living as if they their lives depended on them. We don’t make decision on how long we are going to live and yet we need to make plan on how we are going to live.

Our passage this morning reminds us of the importance of planning one’s life in accordance to God’s will for our lives. Why? Please open your Bibles to James 4:13-17. (Read the passage.)


James addressed those people who say “Today or tomorrow we will go in this or that city, spend a year there carry on business and make money.” James noted that a person cannot just plan his life in that manner.

James was not against planning but he implied that a person cannot just plan his life by himself. Have you notice how this man planned his life? There are three things that we can observe from this statement:

1. The issue of who makes the decision. He said “we will go.”

2. The issue of time. He was so definite when he wants to do it and what he plans to do. “Today or tomorrow, go in this or that city, spend a year there…”

3. The issue of result. He was so sure about the outcome of his action. “Carry on business and make money.”

This is a typical American perspective. We want to be in-charged and we project the results of our actions as if everything is dependent on us. James said that this is wrong. So he proposed a way of planning one’s life.

He said “Instead you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” This statement recognizes the primary role of God on a person’s plan. We cannot make and implement our plans and be assured that it will work right without the presence and approval of God.

To some people this is a form of control and lack of freedom. Why can’t we always do what we want? For them, God discourages their creativity and aggressiveness. That is why they don’t want to consult God in their planning. They want God to stay out of their way. They want to be in-charge; they want to be the God.

James gave two simple reasons why we cannot ask God to stay out of our way:

1. We don’t have any idea of what the future holds. (v. 14)

Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

ILLUSTRATION Hear the famous words of Benjamin Franklin: “Work while it is called today, for you know not how much you may be hindered tomorrow. One today is worth two tomorrows; never leave until tomorrow which you can do today.”

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