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Summary: An attempt to answer the question posed by James in 4:14, "What is your life?"

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Life’s Dimensions

James 4:13-17

13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."

14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

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

16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.

17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

A few years ago, a letter appeared in the national news that was sent to a deceased person by the Indiana Department of Social Services. It read as follows:

Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992

because we received notice that you passed away.

May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a

change in your circumstances.

Well, except for an occasional Lazarus, there haven’t been too many who have seen a change in those circumstances!

Cynics and saints alike agree that life is short. The difference lies in people’s response to that truth. We can’t control the LENGTH of our lives, but we can control the DEPTH.

As Peter Marshall once said, “The measure of life, after all, is not it’s DURATION, but it’s DONATION.

Common sense and practical experience confirm certain facts about life. And of course the Bible has much to say on this subject. So let’s take that question in James 4:14 and try to answer it: “WHAT IS YOUR LIFE?” (transparencies).

1. Life Is a Mystery

The Lord needed no patent, for no one else is able to create life. Man, with all of his technology and tools cannot invent a seed of corn that would produce an ear. Everything that man produces, had to start with something. But God created everything (including life) out of nothing! He started with zero.

No one has ever been able to fully comprehend life and its physical, mental, and spiritual development. And certainly no one has been able to guarantee a continuance of this life. Death is inevitable—a part of the curse.

Andrew Carnegie offered one million dollars to anyone who could prolong his life by just 10 years. Guess what? No one ever collected.

Life. Who can explain it? We can only stand by in awe of it.

2. Life Is a Gift From God

The Bible says that God created man in HIS OWN IMAGE. In Psalm 8, we read, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

We should never cease to thank God for His gift of life and for our families and friends. Life is a gift to be cherished and never demeaned. I believe that the Bible teaches that life begins at conception. Pslam 139:13-16: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.


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