Summary: One of the defining characteristics of a believer is that we live to fulfill God’s will.
OPEN: So today we are going to be moving forward in our study through the book of James. and we are going to be talking about God's plans and our plans and how they combine with one another. When you think about God's plans for your life what kind of emotion response does it create? Is it positive or negative? Does it bring a smile to your face or fill your heart with anxiety? One of the tools the enemy uses against us before we come to Christ is that if follow God's plan, our life will be miserable, we'll never have any fun. We will have to give up everything that brings happiness and laughter into our lives and become this despondent, depressed, unhappy cranky Christian. And it's true that there are some Christians like that, aren't there? I can guarantee that God has something better planned for each of us.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
God has good plans for each of us that moves us into a good life filled with good things. This a promise from God and God keeps his promises. God wants to fill our lives with his hope and accomplish his purposes.
One of the defining characteristics of a believer is that we live to fulfill God's will. Fulfilling God's plans for our lives should be the over-arching preoccupation of our life on earth.
You remember the story in Mark chapter 3 when while Jesus was teaching his family came to see him. Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." What He was saying is those who are related to Me are related to Me as demonstrated by their desire to do My Father's will. nothing is more characteristic of a Christian than a desire to do the will of God. It doesn't mean we always do it, but the desire is there. And when we fail to do it, there's a sense that we're off track.
The psalmist put it this way, in Psalm 40:8 he said, "I delight to do Your will, O my God, yes Your law is within my heart." and "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." (Psalm 143:10)
It's as if he is saying in one place I want to do it, and in another place I'm not sure I know how. I delight in doing it, teach me specifically how. Basic to one's relationship to Christ then is doing the will of God.
My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 5:30)
as a believer look at the model of Christ I see the essence of a relationship to God bound up in this desire to do what God wants. And though my obedience is imperfect, it is nonetheless characteristic of my relationship to Him as His child bearing His nature that I have a desire to do His will. On the other hand, if there is in the heart no desire to do the will of God, that is the mark of a rebel, that is the mark of one who has not been transformed, one who does not love God. Disregard for and constant disinterest in the will of God is the surest evidence of the presence of pride. What's your attitude towards God's will for you today? When you made your plans today, did you factor in the possibility that He might have plans for you today that are different than the plans you made for yourself?
Context: James moves from talking about people who are playing God (By judging others) to talking about those who live as if there is no God (by ignoring Him as they make their plans) We're going to explore the passage by asking a series of questions that kind of flow out of each section.
Does it Make Sense To Make Plans Without Including God?
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." (James 4:13)
James is addressing a group of people who are living in a manner that doesn't make any sense at all. It's not that they are successful or intelligent people, it's just that they live in a way that basically ignores God. They live as if God wasn't even around. That's not something that's even on their agenda, It's not something that occupies any thought at all for them. They are just preoccupied with living out their life and listening to what God has for them isn't part of their routine.