Do NOT make ANY plans WITHOUT GOD: Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)
In approximately thirteen days, we are going to step into a new year. It is a common trend to make ‘New Year Resolutions’ that will list our plans for the New Year. Usually in churches, believers will get an occasion to say their testimonies during the ‘Watch Night Service’ on December 31st night, and barring few exceptions, believers will publicly declare what they plan to do during the New Year. All of us have hopes, dreams, and plans, and the Bible never discourages us from looking to the future with bright expectation!
However, in the above passage Apostle James specifically exhorts us that we should not make any plans apart from God and boast about them. Since we have absolute no control over our lives or over the events that may happen in our lives, we should never boast about our short-range and long-range plans without God in the equation. Let us not forget the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13–21) who boasted about his future business plans not knowing that he would die that same night, and would see none of his grandiose plans getting fulfilled. Let us never boast about our future as we read in Proverbs 27:1 as follows: "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth."
Our lives and our future are in God’s control. His thoughts and ways are much higher than our thoughts and ways as God Himself tells us: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). So, even if we make any plans for our future, let us ensure that they are written using a chalk or pencil asking ourselves the following question: “What if?” and let God have the eraser!
Let us always remember that God should be consulted in all our plans, and they should be made according to His will and based on His Word. We should live and speak in the realization that our destinies are in His control. We should say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” Omitting God from our future plans is not merely bad planning; it is sin. We should only make plans in conscious dependence on God, recognizing His sovereign control over our lives. Let all our future plans be only according to God's will and purposes. We can be confident that God has only good thoughts and plans about us and our future!
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jer 29:11)