We all make plans. We have to or things would be a mess. You have to plan to make a presentation for work or study to pass an exam. You have to plan for someone to pick up your kids from school activities if you can’t do it. Making plans is not the problem James addresses here. The problem is our attitude about the plans we make.
How would you define arrogance? Do you think it is arrogant to declare your plans without first actually saying the words, “If the Lord wills”? You’ve heard it before. It can get a little crazy when you visit a restaurant and tell the waiter, “If the Lord wills, I’ll have the chicken.” Or you get up to use the restroom and say, “Excuse me. If the Lord wills, I’ll be back in a moment.”
In the video, Francis said it’s about asking, “God, am I really in submission to Your will? Am I comparing myself to other people whom I consider more arrogant, that I’ve overlooked my own arrogance? OK, Lord, I recognize that my life is in Your hand. Every breath is a gift from You. So I surrender it to You now. What do You want me to do?”
The key here is that God’s plans trump our plans. We need to be humble enough to recognize that God might have different priorities from ours, and we should be obedient enough to make plans with His priorities in mind.
Sometimes we live as if God does not exist. We conduct our business day to day without thinking a lot about what God wants. We make our plans based on our hopes and dreams, not God’s. We may have a rather moral code of conduct, but we’re not responding to God’s daily guidance.
That’s a problem, says James. A few verses earlier he was urging his readers to “submit yourselves to God” and to “draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” That humble attitude of submission is crucial if we’re going to live for Him in this world. Living in constant communication with God is necessary if we’re going to be flexible enough to change our plans based on His desires.
How do we need to change our habits so that we can hear God’s daily guidance and follow it?
What plans do you have for your life, your family, your home, your business, your church? Talk with God about these, and then listen. What does He think about all this? If your plans involve others, get them in on the praying, too.