This year, live in this truth…“If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15), instead of making grand pronouncements about this or that in 2017.
There’s a great deal of assumption that can go along with new year proclamations. I’m not talking about making resolutions. By all means, make them. And then genuinely try to achieve them. Especially if they include goals based around knowing and trusting Christ more and putting away sin. Great.
But we rarely make resolutions the way they once were intended to be made. Probably because we’ve lost our ability to resolve in general. We just can’t even anymore.
What I hear and see from most people are grand new year declarations like “This is my year!” or “This year will be all about positivity and change” or “I’m going to shine my brightest this year” – whatever that means.
Its unfocused and…well…kinda arrogant. “As it is, you boast in your arrogance” (James 4:16).
Listen, there is nothing wrong about being positive, making goals, setting out plans and working towards something. But there is something very wrong in searching for joy, peace and ultimate personal satisfaction in those goals and plans. Often times we place our hope in that one goal or in that particular plan. And when we do that, we place it above our need for Christ and our submission to His perfect Will.
Living a James 4 lifestyle is challenging.
It requires a whole lot of trust in the Lord. But there’s a good chance something will come along this year that will stumble your footing. It could be small or large. We don’t know. Notice how in James 4:15 it says, “If the Lord wills, we will live…” Which is a nice reminder that there’s a chance we won’t live. I could die. You could die. Someone we love dearly could die. Nothing is sure.
Maybe. But where does my hope reside? In my desire to shine brightly this year? To be positive? To lose weight? To go here or there?
Or is it to cling to Christ with whom my ultimate resting place is here on earth in the hereafter?
He fills my lungs with air, tells my heart to beat and keeps the lamp of my soul aflicker. He also sets the plans for this day and that day. The good and the bad that lay ahead are in sovereign control by a Father whose trustworthy.
I write this because I desperately need to remember it. I need to hear it most. Although I steer clear from illusive, over-hyped Facebook posts on January 1st, I struggle a great deal with releasing control of what the future holds to God. I feel it deep down inside me. It’s a battle for peace. And I lose before I even begin.
Which is why I quickly flip to James 4 and I read while taking deep breaths.
And I’m reminded of who I am. I’m a mist. My life is a vapor that in the grand scheme of time is here only moments. And yet, somehow the Creator of everything loves me – a dissolving drizzle of life. He went so far as to go to the cross for me – in all my temporary, sin-soaked, evaporating glory. It’s so absurd and yet so consoling.
Because of that great and relieving truth, I must start January submitting my plans to the King of the universe. Who gives life and takes it away. The One with whom all rest and peace is found for now and forevermore.
He knows what this year holds. I don’t.
It’s the only thing we know for sure. So let’s not make any grand pronouncements about stuff we don’t know and let the Leader do the leading.
Submit it all to Him this year.