Bible Study, Spiritual Formation

Constant Active Yielding

The end of James 4 challenges not only our world view but the integrity of our world view.

There are basically two world views–at least two major categories.
A world view that excludes God–the universe/world is a closed system.
A world view that includes God–the universe is a system created by and controlled by God.

But many of us who claim that our world view is theistic or even monotheistic, can at times live as though there is no God.

This is the challenge of James 4:13-17.

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”–14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance.  All such boasting is evil. (ESV)

Several basic observations.

  1. The statement in v. 13 is not a statement against planning or even making a profit.  What James will challenge is planning, even assuming the outcome–without a thought for God.
  2. Verse 14 not only shows that man is temporal, with a limited time frame, but a limited perspective.
  3. Verse 16 identifies the root issue–arrogance.  Here we could define arrogance as the assumption of independence from God.
  4. Verse 15 gives us the antidote for this belief of autonomy–a willing submission to the will of God.

The passage ends with a great summary statement (probably a summary of James 3:1-4:16 at least).

17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (ESV)

Our lives are not independent from God.  We are not autonomous.  Therefore, since we know that God is involved, we must live with Him in clear view.  We are not simply to avoid active engagement in sin but we are to also be actively engaged in doing what is right.

So what should characterize our world view and our daily living? Our goal should be: Living a life of constant active yielding.

A life of constant active yielding
This involves our whole life–every dimension, every facet
It is not just when we need something from God–but a moment by moment acknowledgement of His right over our lives
It is not passivity–“let go and let God”
It is active surrender. 


Author: Steve

I love to study the Bible and I love to engage with others in learning. I had been privileged to do this on a regular basis through church ministry and through part-time teaching at a local Bible colleges. Helping individuals learn to feed themselves through their own study of God’s Word is joy-giving to me. Influencing groups to do life and church from a biblically grounded, theologically faithful perspective is my passion.


  1. Yes, moment by moment, second by second by second…

    A friend shared Psalm 25 with me. Interesting to observe–
    1. The attributes of God
    2. Are attitude toward God
    3. Our “asking” /requests of God

    God has a plan (way, path, leads, teaches)
    He is merciful, has steadfast love, faithful, forgives,
    He is good, upright,
    He keeps his covenant and testimonies
    He is a friend of those who fear Him

    Because of who he is, we must
    Wait, rest, trust, fear….
    All these terms have the concept of yielding, dependence

    And because of who He is and what we need, we can ask for him to
    lift up our soul, not allow us to be put to shame, nor allow our enemies to exult over us,
    we can request that he lead us the humble, forgive us sinners,
    request that he turn to us, would be gracious to us, bring us out of distress, consider our situation, guard and deliver us, protect our integrity because of our connection to him.

    His is able
    We are needy
    He can supply we need

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