Summary: In the road there a lots of road signs, this is also true in our spiritual journey, signs that we need to follow.
Text: James 4:13-17; 5:1-6
When we are driving on a road we will notice a lot of traffic sign, if we are observant. Some of the signs are: slow down, slippery when wet, check your brake, 100 km only, dangerous curve, stop-look and listen, school zone, children crossing, etc. All these signs are not only for those driving but even to those who are walking. And these signs are warning to everyone that if follow will make the trip safe and sound but if disregard will normally brings accident, destructions, chaos to everyone. A driver can either rely on his experience in driving and disregards all this signs and in turn he experience trouble and problems along the way or he can read and follow the signs. This morning as we continue to study the book of James we will learn some warning that we need to take heed in order for our spiritual journey to be safe and sound. This is the 12th in our series, “A Life That Makes a Difference”. Let’s open our Bible to the book of James 4:13-17 and 5:1-6 (read).
The book of James have a lot of reminder on how we should live our life, command that we need to obey, things that we need to avoid, but only in this part of James that the tone of James suddenly shift into stern warning. If you notice he begins both 4:13 and 5:1 with the phrase, “NOW LISTEN!” “PAKINGGAN NINYO ITO!” as if he saying here, “Okay now I would like you to lend your ear to me for a moment and listen to this carefully.” Twice, he repeated it, “Now listen”; it only means that this is very important to listen to. And then hoe goes on by giving the warning. Now do we need to get warn of? From this verse James gave us two warnings in order for our journey to be safe and sound. James warns us regarding:
1. OUR PLANS
In v. 1 James is talking to here to those who say, “today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” We Filipinos have saying, “Huwag mo munang bilangin ang sisiw hanggang hindi pa napipisa ang itlog.” This means that we should not brag or boast something that we don’t have yet. James warned here those who brag or boast about their own plans, about tomorrow. And he goes on why we should not do it, v. 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.” From this verse James gave some important truth why we should not boast our plans. First, we don’t hold our tomorrow – it is says that, “yesterday is already past and tomorrow is not yet in our hands the only thing we are holding in our hands is today”. This is true, we cannot boast tomorrow for we do not know and hold tomorrow. Many people boast for their plans for tomorrow because they rely and depend on their ability, on what they can do, on their capability to do things. But we are warned here if this is our case. Remember who is holding our future and our life; it is God who knows the best for all of us, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you peace and a future.” Second, because of the shortness of life – James compares us to a mist. What is a mist? It is a vapor that comes out and a split second vaporizes. That is what a life is and that is also the reason why we should not boast tomorrow or our own plans and future. Solomon the wisest man who lives who was quoted by James said in Proverbs 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Life is short and it is was compared to a mist in order for a man to realize that we should not brag about tomorrow, the future, our own plans and goals. The point here is not for us to make plans and prepare for our future but to realize what should be the motive and who is behind our plans. James clearly said it in v. 15, “Instead you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” In making goals and plans for the future, believers must always consider God and His will other wise it will be boasting of our own capability. We must not act like the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21; rather we must recognize that true happiness and useful living are completely dependent on God. The principle by which we live must be, “If it the Lord’s will.” If our prayer is truly, “May your will be done” (Matt. 26:42), then we have the assurance that our present and future is in the protective care of our heavenly Father (cf. Acts 18:21; 1 Cor. 4:19; 16:7; Heb. 6:3). Jesus says in John 15, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” By planning our future without God is evil as in James 4:16 said, “As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.” Notice that James said the phrase, “all such” meaning there are boasting that is acceptable to God? And what is that boasting? When we do things according to God’s will, “if it is the Lord’s will.” For those who set goals and succeed in meeting them, the temptation is to boast. Boasting is based on the false assumption that whatever we accomplished, we did by ourselves and not with the help of God and others. The Bible urges us to boast in God Psalm 34:2, “My soul will boast in the Lord, let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” Psalm 43:8, “In God we make our boast all day long and we will praise your name forever.” Even in the New Testament we are also urges to boast in our weaknesses and our dependence on God 2 Cor. 11:30, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weaknesses.” 2 Cor. 12:5, 9, “5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 9 But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ power may rest on me.”