Summary: How do you make good New Year’s Resolutions?

Making Good Resolutions

Providential Planning

James 4:13-17

In James 4, James pictures a typical Jewish Merchant, making resolutions for the next year. James concludes by saying in verse sixteen, that boastful resolutions are “evil.”

Our immediate reaction is, “what is wrong with making plans or resolutions for the New Year.”

Planning is important.

Nelaton a French surgeon said that if he had four minutes to perform life-dependent surgery, he would take one minute to plan.

God plans. Planned His work and worked His plan.

∙ Plan of redemption

∙ Prophecy reveals God’s plan for the ages, 2 advents, the cross, etc..

James 1:4 reveals that God has a plan for each of us.

So why does James find fault with this man’s plans?

Notice that James does not find fault with planning, which is important. The fault that James finds with this mans plans is that his plan left God out. James warning is against arrogant, autonomous attitudes in planning.

Your plans reveal much about you and about your relationship with God. Some people feel like Their relationship with Christ is a one day a week commitment, and that God has little place in their lives the other six days. They reveal such thoughts in their planning.

The merchant in James 4 assumed he could plan unconditionally. In planning the next years itinerary he acted arrogantly as though he himself were in control of the future.

When dealing with the future, which is what planning is all about, God expects us to acknowledge the fact that He alone is in control of the future.

Failure to recognize God’s providence as the all-important factor in planning reveals an arrogant attitude.

While he needed to acknowledge that God alone is in control of the future.

∙ Autonomous planning, foolishly assumes rights and powers that we do not possess.

∙ Puts you in God’s rightful place.

∙ You are then claiming powers that belong to Him alone and thus making yourself sovereign.

Gods’ Providence or Sovereignty

∙ There is no such thing as luck.

∙ There are no accidents.

A cowboy applied for health insurance. The agent that interviewed him asked, “have you had any accidents in the last year?”

The cowboy replied, “No. But I was bit by a rattlesnake, and a horse kicked me in the ribs and I was laid up for awhile.”

AGENT: “Those weren’t accidents?”

COWBOY: “No, they did it on purpose.”

The cowboy knew no “accidents.” A Christian that recognizes Gods sovereignty has the same attitude.

God often uses the Devils schemes to fulfill His own purposes. An obvious example is found in the Biblical story of Joseph. In Joseph’s case, his brothers were intending to bring harm, yet God used their behavior to save the nation of Israel. (Gen 50:20) “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Another prime example is that of the crucifixion. Wicked men sought to destroy Jesus once for all, but their act only caused our redemption.

After a tree fell on his garage, the Rev. Ray Lanham was asked by neighbor Tom Bedell if it isn’t wrong that a man of God should suffer from an act of God.

“I wouldn’t know,” replied Mr. Lanham, “I’m in sales, not management.”


A group of men were carrying on a friendly conversation. One of them remarked that he had learned to be especially careful about small things. “Would you believe,” he said, “that a little thing like a pair of socks changed the entire course of my life?” “I can hardly believe that,” replied another man. “Well, it’s true! Once I planned to take a trip with some of my friends on a canal boat, but two days before we intended to leave, I injured my foot while chopping wood. It was only a small cut, but the blue dye in the homemade socks I wore poisoned the wound, and I was compelled to stay at home. While my friends were on their journey, a powerful preacher came to our town to hold revival meetings. Since I didn’t have anything else to do, I decided to attend. The message touched me deeply, and as a result, I surrendered my heart to the Lord. Afterward I saw that I needed to change my life in many ways. New desires and purposes took hold of me. I determined also to seek an education, for I trusted that this would enable me to live more usefully for my Lord.” The man who made these comments was none other than the former President of the United States — James A. Garfield!


In order to Plan Providentially you must have a proper evaluation of life.

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