Summary: Our temporary lives can make a lasting difference if we will surrender our plans to God.
The Mist that Made a Difference
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.
Intro: Professor Lowell of Harvard University was speaking many years ago to a gathering on Columbus Day. He said that there were three profound things about Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America: First, when he left Spain he didn’t know where he was going. Second, when he arrived in the New World he didn’t know where he was. Third, when he returned to Ferdinand in his court he didn’t know where he had been. And he did it all on borrowed money!
-Does that sound like any of us at certain times in our lives? We don’t know where we are going, where we are, or where we’ve been? We may set out with certain ideas about what we’d like to accomplish, but after it’s all said and done we find that our journey looked nothing like the vision we had in mind. In fact, our destination may have totally changed along the way. Sometimes this is good because it means that God is leading us, and as we learn to follow Him instead of our own desires, we find that He takes us to the very place we ought to be. Other times life just happens to us and around us and we lose sight of our destination and goals. God doesn’t want us to live aimlessly, nor does He want us to live arrogantly- just assuming that He will bless whatever we decide to do.
-Here’s what I’d like to impart to you today: Our temporary lives can make a lasting difference if we will surrender our plans to God.
-Let’s examine a few guidelines that will help us prepare for the future.
1. Don’t be presumptuous about your plans
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.
-How often do we make our plans and go about our business without really consulting with the Lord? If you look at this verse, there is nothing wrong the activities mentioned. It might be okay to go to a certain city. It might be okay to spend a year there. And it might even be okay to do business there and make money. The problem is found in the presumptuous words, “We will.” If they could hear God speak, they might hear the well known phrase, “Who’s we?”
-Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.
-God wants us to understand that without Him we could not have, do, or be anything. He made it all. He owns it all. He made us for a purpose and He does have a plan that includes us. God’s plan includes you. Does your plan include God?
-Now we sometimes include God, but we don’t really honor Him. In other words, we start with our own plans based on what we want, then we fit God into our plans somewhere along the line. The problem is that our plan is self-centered instead of God-centered. God doesn’t fit in a corner! He takes center stage in our lives. Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Either Jesus is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all!”
-So don’t start with your plan, start with prayer. Talk to God and ask Him to lead you and guide you into what He has planned for you. Sometimes we dream dreams and get excited about an idea we have. I am aware that God often puts desires and dreams in our hearts and minds and some of our bright ideas may have come from Him! However, do not automatically assume that your desires and dreams are in sync with God’s plan for you. The timing may be off, the motives might be wrong, and more information may be needed. So, submit your plans to the Lord, giving Him full veto power.
-Include God in the formation of your plans. Include God in the execution of your plans.
2. Recognize the temporary nature of this life