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 thatÂ 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.Â Â 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.Â Â All such boasting is evil. (ESV)
Several basic observations.
- The statement in v. 13 is not a statement against planning or even making a profit. Â What James will challenge is planning, even assuming the outcome–without a thought for God.
- Verse 14 not only shows that man is temporal, with a limited time frame, but a limited perspective.
- Verse 16 identifies the root issue–arrogance. Â Here we could define arrogance as the assumption of independence from God.
- 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. Â We are not autonomous. Â Therefore, since we know that God is involved, we must live with Him in clear view. Â We are not simply to avoid active engagement in sin but we are to also be actively engaged in doing what is right.
This involves our whole life–everyÂ dimension, every facet
It is not just when we need something from God–but a moment by momentÂ acknowledgementÂ of His right over our lives
It is not passivity–“let go and let God”
It is active surrender.Â