Happy New Year! As we begin 2020, it’s important to have a biblical perspective on our lives and future. James 4:13-16 gives us a sober reminder: “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”— 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. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
We see three truths emerge from this passage. First, life is really short! Making plans for the future or earning money to take care of your family is not sinful. Boasting in your own ability to determine the future is sinful. Why? Life is fragile, short, and transitory. We are not in control of our lives. Psalm 39:4–5 reads: “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!”
Because life is short, the Psalmist has a humble, reflective attitude. He wants to truly know how fleeting his life is. He wants a sober reminder of the fragility and brevity of life. When we trust in our power, wisdom, resources, and intelligence to control life, we show an arrogance that does not rely upon God.
Second, we must humbly recognize that God is absolutely sovereign over all things. “If the Lord wills. . .” Is this your attitude? Instead of saying, “I’m in control of my future and I know what’s best for my life, and I can chart my own course in 2020, and I’m going to ultimately do whatever I WANT to do!” You instead say, “If the Lord wills, I will take another breath. If the Lord wills, I will go to work tomorrow. I will go on that trip. I will get that new job. I will get that promotion. I will save that extra money. I will have that boyfriend or girlfriend.”
The Bible teaches the absolute and meticulous sovereignty of God over all things. Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Ephesians 1:1: “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” We need to have a healthy dose of God’s absolute sovereignty over all things which leads us to worship Him in fear and awe and humility and dependence. Ecclesiastes 7:14 says, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”
Third, we must humbly submit our wills to His will in all things. This is how Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer. Matthew 6:10 reminds us, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” There are two ways to live: You can live the way of prideful presumption. You try to control life. You trust in your resources and your own ability to chart the future. You live as if God is not in control and you do what you want to do according to your will. This is dangerously foolish.
Or. . . You can live the way of submissive surrender. You can surrender your life plans to God. You can trust in His sovereignty over your life and future. You live as if God is absolutely in control and you pray for His will to be done. You seek His kingdom first.
This is joyfully freeing. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
“If the Lord wills. . .” Life is short! God is absolutely sovereign! We must humbly submit our wills to His sovereign will! Is this your prayer, attitude, and commitment for 2020?