James 4:14 – 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.
In the Bible, faith, hope, and love often appear together. Faith says that we must live with hope for the future because of God’s love for us. Faith requires that we look into the future and make plans to live for God and with God.
The problem is that sometimes we become so committed to our plan that we forget about His plan. His plan is often different than our plan. For our plan to stay consistent with His plan, two things help.
One, write your plan in pencil. The only inerrant writing on the planet is the Bible, and whatever we write down is bound to have a few errors and need some edits. As a new husband, I wanted so badly to be a good family leader that I made a lot of plans – schedules, budgets, etc. – but what drove my wife nuttier than a jar of peanut butter was my certainty that all my plans would come true. Even worse, as a zealous new pastor I would get up and share detailed vision with utter certainty to our little flock while she shook her head trying to support me instead of shoot me.
Two, pivot from your plan to His plan. This is what James means saying that if we know we are supposed to do something then we just need to do it. Sometimes we get so committed to our plan that we do not pivot and adjust to follow His plan.
We’ve all been guilty of bragging, boasting, and promising something in the future that only God knows and controls. Social media exists so we can post photos showing how awesome we are, even if they are carefully designed illusions to wrap our proud humble brag up in humility. Our lives are like an exhaled breath on a cold morning – visible for a moment then gone forever. We don’t know what tomorrow brings for anyone, starting with ourselves.
The world is not filled with humble and proud people. The world is filled with proud people who are humble enough to know they are proud, and proud people who are too proud to know they are proud. Pride is a human problem in that it is a problem for every human. The Bible has nothing good to say about pride, as we learned in the prior section of James.
Conversely, the Bible only has good things to say about humility starting with Jesus our humble King. Not only did He set the perfect example of humility doing the Father’s will, He also sent the Holy Spirit to humble us and grow our character to be like Christ. This allows us to be good stewards of our lives, live with faith and vision, make plans, and be open to whatever the Lord has planned by waking up every day and doing what our faith says is right even if it was not on the to-do list for that day.
What kinds of things do you plan for? What things are hard for you to plan in pencil and not permanent marker?