13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-16 (NLT)
WHENEVER Apostle James writes, he leaves no grey area or a safe neutral ground for the reader. It is either you are this or you are that. God had gifted him with a holy ability to challenge God's people to see something very serious from what we had labelled as harmless. Furthermore, those harmless mistakes were really big deals before God. No wonder many live in self-made wildernesses rather than basking in the abundance of God's grace.
As we end the year and celebrate the New Year, let us pause and reflect that we may learn to find rest in doing God's will for us as individuals and as a church. We prayed a full year for a well-fed faith so we could walk in the wisdom of God by applying spiritual principles to our complicated situations. In retrospect, most of these complications were really avoidable!
James confronted God's people in his time with the sin of presumption, calling them pretentious planners, exposing a subtle evil of self-sufficiency. How were these sins committed? When we have good plans that did not come from the good God, when we have intelligent and pragmatic choices that had not been birthed in fervent prayer and when we rely on a false confidence that what we see as right automatically has the concurrence of the Almighty...then we commit this sin.
James addressed these issues by exposing the wrong, asking the honest and right question and by giving the right answer and by modeling a doable application of these truths. Let’s dig deeper, let’s chew some timely truths slowly that we may internalize its meaning and apply it concretely in our lives.
James performed the spiritual surgery by addressing a tolerated arrogance among God's people.
This kind of arrogance was different from the regular flamboyant attitude. This one was hidden and subtly displayed that even the one who displayed it can’t be the regular suspect. This is hidden in good deeds and good intention. Make no mistake about it, it delivers concrete results. James addressed this kind of virus by exposing them. There are at least 3 categories of this arrogant spirit:
· Having Good Plans without the desire to consult God
· Having noble determination and the finest intention without true dependence on God
· Having the excellent strategy without the authentic spirituality of waiting and discerning God's will through prayer
What is crystal clear here is the absence of desire to consult God, followed by the sin of prayerlessness, not just less prayer...it is really zero prayer...the swift process of decision-making without the evidence of discernment and wisdom. Consequently, discernment and wisdom comes from God as an answer to prayer.
This new year let us not take lightly our need of seeking God through prayer.
To be continued in next issue