Summary: We know that we're not guaranteed tomorrow; so why do we live like we are?
1) Presumptuous judgments (vs. 13).
• Previously, James had warned against making presumptuous judgments about people (vs. 11-12). Now he warns against making presumptuous judgments about the future. We have a mistaken confidence; we think we can predict the unpredictable. It’s not good to make presumptuous judgments. It’s not good to assume tomorrow is guaranteed. And it’s arrogant to make our plans without considering God. James is writing to believers here. They had trusted Christ for salvation; they had given thought to their necessity for Jesus regarding their eternal life, but have failed to do the same regarding their everyday life. And so it is today. We recognize that we need Jesus on Sunday but how much is he a part of our lives every other day? Do we give thought to God when we go about our business? We get out our planners and make appointments for the day or week or month but how much do we stop and think about how God would want us to plan our lives? How often do we pray before a meeting or a phone call, asking for God’s guidance? Do we put God off to the side during the week and then come to church on Sunday saying, “Hey, thanks God for getting me through another week”? When ironically we hadn’t given him much thought throughout the week.
• We set ourselves up for disappointment when we make all these plans without considering God. We may have our heart set on a career choice but we end up running into brick walls, getting frustrated and discouraged; all because that’s not what God wants us to do; it’s what we want to do. “You can be anything you want to be”. Sounds nice but it’s not true. You can’t necessarily be anything you want to be. I will say go ahead and try it; don’t let restrictions stop you. You can rise above challenges, you can beat the odds but sometimes we have to face reality and change course when something isn’t panning out. It doesn’t mean failure; it just means we were meant to do something else. When we have our heart set on something and we don’t listen to God or wise counsel from others who would be pointing out certain things we need to take a look at we are in trouble. We plan our future with this picture-perfect scenario of how it’s going to go. We find ourselves getting our hopes up and becoming overconfident and over excited then something happens that we weren’t expecting and we are devastated. We don’t know what to do. We are angry and confused and we throw away our plans. We become depressed and conclude that we’re a failure; life’s a failure. All because we tried to make certainties out of uncertainties; all because we didn’t expect the unexpected; all because we didn’t plan wisely; all because we didn’t include God in our plans; all because we didn’t listen to God when he was trying to warn us.
2) Life is brief (Vs. 14).