James 4: 13-16
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and carry on our business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know about what may happen in your life tomorrow. You are merely a vapor that is visible for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and we will do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your pretension and arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.
This passage appears to discuss several unrelated topics: the brevity of life, boasting in our own pretensions and not doing what one knows should be done. If we look a little closer, there is a clear connection and an overarching theme. Man tends to desire to take the reins of his life, not recognizing the One who truly owns it, not focused on being a steward of the life on loan to him. He takes charge of planning his days as he wills, completely unaware of his lack of control and ownership over them.
The correct approach is to recognize that all of one’s plans, all of one’s life, are within God’s control. If He so desires, then the days will continue and the plan will come to fruition. If He so desires, the plan may change. If He so desires, He will bless my plan. If He so desires, He will orchestrate his own plan from start to finish. And relinquishing our plans to God means that we must be listening and watching for his direction on what to do. If He tells us what must be done today, and we do not do it, that is sin. We have taken our way instead of his and taken back control of our lives.
If we are to follow God, we must be open to him leading us in everything we do for every day that we live. This does not mean that He will necessarily lay out our lives minute by minute with step by step instructions, but we must be willing to submit to that if it is his will. This is about simply acknowledging that God desires to be in control of our lives and then giving him that control, whatever He decides it will look like. Father, give us such love for You that we will unquestioningly give You complete control of our lives, being faithful in your promise to work all things out for our good.