It is interesting how we want to make so many plans. It is not a bad thing to plan things out or to look ahead for the future. However, James is making a point that we can do this wrong. We tend to look at our lives and we decide what direction we want to go, how we want to get there, and what things we are going to avoid and go towards. More often than not we decide…
The problem with that is exactly what James points out. The merchants have these plans for how to make the most profits and when to arrive and leave places with no thought to consulting the Lord about how that fits into His will. We make all of these plans as if we know what the future holds. But the reality is that this life is not certain. James describes it as a mist, here for a little while then gone. We forget that the Lord is the only one who know the outcome of the next moment. So when we take it upon ourselves to decide and dictate all the areas of our life without consulting God we place ourselves in the category of pride.
This is why James makes a point to say that whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. We know that we are not supposed to be the ones in control of our lives. And yet we try to be, which lands us in sin. Again it is not bad to plan when we are planning for what God wants for us. When God makes clear the path we should do our due diligence to follow that path (which will require planning and preparation). But we should avoid thinking that we know best, and that we can figure out the path and plan it out on our own.
By: Dakota Gragg — Student Ministry Associate