Don’t leave God out of your plans

(James 4:13-17)
People have different ways of looking into their future.  Some look through purely earthly eyes and try to figure for themselves matters such as how they will complete their education; when and who they will marry and how they will raise their children; what kind of a job will help them get the things they want in life.  Some use tea leaves to try to look into the future.  Others use palm reading.  Still others use astrology.  There are some who are a little more sophisticated.  They read books like Megatrends and other things, trying to understand what their future holds for them. However, there are some who interpret life in terms of spiritual considerations such as salvation, spiritual growth, serving others, heaven or hell. They make their choices in view of these realities.
We need to stress that making plans in and of itself is not wrong.  The Apostle Paul often made plans in regard to his travels.  Notice:   Acts 18:20-21 (KJV) ²⁰“When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; ²¹ But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.”
Actually, making plans (or setting goals) is a key to success in any venture we may undertake in life, but there is a “right” way to plan, and a “wrong” way; and James discusses both in James 4:13-17 (KJV) ¹³ “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: ¹⁴ Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. ¹⁵ For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. ¹⁶ But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. ¹⁷ Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
This appears to be a description of a First Century wheeler-dealer, a boastful businessman, a man who was making all the plans for his future through self-centered, earthly eyes.   I believe this man has many brothers here in this Twenty-First Century.  I believe we can learn some important lessons from him.  This is a man who, in many respects, would be called a successful man in the First Century or the Twenty-First Century.  He made a  major mistake that the Lord  doesn’t want us to make.  As we plan for our future, I want to give you this warning as well as the Biblical way that we should plan our lives.
We learn from this passage to “Beware of Self-Centered Planning.”  A man is looking forward to the future in a business endeavor.   First of all, he’s planning the period of time.  Look in verse 13: “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will enter into such a such a city, and continue there a year…”  Now, this man, in his mind, says, “Today or tomorrow I’m going to go to a city and I’m going to stay there for a year. That’s where I’m going to invest my time this coming year.”   So, he’s planning the period of time.  But he’s not finished yet.
He next plans the procedure.  He’s going to buy and sell. Evidently, he has some marketing scheme.  He has planned the period, he’s planned the place, he’s planned the procedure.  And he’s also planned the profit. He says, “…I will buy and sell and get gain.”
Look at this man and you’ll find out what was wrong with him. He left God out of his plans altogether. He’s not consulting with God. He’s not seeking the will of God. He’s like so many who gather in houses of worship in our times.  
Have you really taken God into your plans?  In verse 15 you’ll see the key to all of this. “For that we ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

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