The Big “If”

Read James 4

“Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s
will, we will live and do this or that.’”
(James 4:15)

Thoughts… The greatest challenge we face in our lives these days isn’t terrorism from without or secularism from within; it’s not high taxes or soaring gas prices or sinking financial markets or an uncertain income stream; it’s not gay marriage or activist judges or a biased press.

It is not anything but the clear and present danger of a life independent of God. I am not talking about the unbeliever, mind you. I am speaking of Christians who live, in effect, as practical atheists.

So how is it that a believer gets into that predicament? James says it happens when we make our plans without God. Notice in James 4:13 that there is not a single mention of God in how some Christians plan for the future: “Today or tomorrow we will go to this city or that, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”

It’s the mistake of knowing what you want and how to get it, but never checking it out with God first. Now James isn’t down on planning. Rather, he is talking about presuming. It is to presume that God will be okay with your plans without asking him first. It’s great to have dreams and goals—as long as you include God and establish them prayerfully. Not to plan with God as your first and foremost consideration is to commit the sin of self-sufficiency.

The great Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote prolifically on the horrors of the Russian Revolution, where 60 million Russians died, and he attributed this nightmare to one simple fact: “Men have forgotten God.” This is what James is talking about. You can know God yet overlook him in your daily life. It’s possible to love Him but leave him out of the picture when it comes to planning your career or running your business or pursuing your education. In effect, when you forget God and fail to consult with him, even about the daily ordinariness of your life, you become a practical atheist.

So what’s the solution? Very simply, include God in your planning. In buying a home…purchasing a car…making a career move…hiring an employee…beginning to date…ending a relationship, first find out what has God said about it. Verse 15 says, “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”

Take note of the word “if”. Did you know that right in the middle of LIFE is IF? The starting point in bringing your life into line with the will of God is to put everything through the filter of that one big IF: If this is what God wants!

If you leave God out of the equation and live as a practical atheist, life will be IF-E for you at best. At worst, life will be a living “L”!

Proverbs 16:3 and 9 reminds us that we can make plans, but we should count on God to direct us. Proverbs 3:6 says, “Remember the LORD in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.”

So I would encourage you to stop praying, “God bless what I’m doing” and start praying, “God, show me what you’re blessing, and that is what I will do.”

That’s the surest way to keep “life” all together.

Prayer… Lord, your will—no more, no less. That’s what I desire!

One More Thing…
“Our God has boundless resources. The only limit is in us. Our asking, our thinking, our praying are too small. Our expectations are too limited.” —A.B. Simpson

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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