Mar 19 8:06 AM


Mar 19 8:06 AM
Mar 19 8:06 AM


Friday, March 19, 2021

James 4:13-15




You know, one of the worst things you can do is practice presumption or assumption. A lot of people presume upon things, and the biggest thing we presume upon is the future. Sometimes we say, "Well, next year I'm going to do this. The year after, I'm going to do that. And then I'm going to do this." Here's the tension. Long term and short term planning is wise. The Bible, again and again, affirms the power of planning. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, there's no doubt about it. But, sometimes you can have a plan that you so count on, that you presume that the future will be there for that plan to manifest, and it doesn't. So, what I want to do is talk to you about presumption, and to be careful with it.
In James 4:13-15, James has something to say about those who rely too much upon presumption. He says, 'Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we'll go to this city or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." ' So he says, first of all, presumption is bad because you don't know what tomorrow will bring. You plan for tomorrow, but you have to have flexible plans. You have to hold a plan loosely, whereas presumption holds it tightly. Then he goes on and says that you may not even be here to fulfill those plans. First thing is tomorrow may not be the day you think it is. We didn't think a lot of things would be going on over the past year with the pandemic, but they are. And the second thing is you might not be alive. Your life is a vapor. It's a puff of smoke in the winds of eternity. It sounds very philosophical, doesn't it?

And then James tells us the counteraction to presumption. He says, 'Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." ' So, James is clearly not refuting or debunking planning. He's not saying it's wrong. He's saying, No, you should plan. The Bible teaches that again and again. But he says, hold your plans loosely. The problem with presumption is that you hold your plans tightly. You don't know what tomorrow will be, so your plan is based on an expectation of tomorrow, but you don't know what's going to happen. Your plan is based on you being around tomorrow, and you don't know if you're gonna make it through the end of the day. So, all I want to say is this: plan, take care of the future, but do not be presumptuous. Don't presume upon the future. Don't count on everything being there; be flexible, be agile, be adjustable. And most importantly, submit to the Lord's will, because you just do not know what God will do with your plans. Here's my theology of planning: Number one, God honors people who have a plan. If you have a plan, God will honor you for having a plan. Second, God will not use your plan, because if God used your plan, you would worship your plan more than the God who gave you the inspiration to put it together. That's what presumption is, it's assuming that you have control of the future. God does. He controls tomorrow. He controls how long we live. So don't presume upon tomorrow. Enjoy today. Have a plan for tomorrow. Be agile and flexible with it. Are you willing to do that? Can you break out of the mold and just be flexible? Don't presume, don't assume.

Let's pray. Lord, whatever your will is, give me the ability to adjust my plan accordingly. Father, thanks for this word. Help us to be flexible, nimble, agile, and humble. Help us live according to your will, not according to our fixed expectation about what tomorrow and the day after will bring, because we don't know. Thank you for this reminder, in Jesus' name. Amen.