I can understand that. Who are we to say for sure what we are going to do in the future? Even so, I think it would be very difficult to start every sentence about what we plan to do in the next minute or even the next day with “If the Lord wills.” That would make for some very long conversations. I don’t even think my friend Anner would take it that far. Is that what James is suggesting we do? I don’t think so.
He ends this passage by telling us if we know we should do something and don’t do it, then we are sinning. What? Why does that idea come at the end of warning us not to brag about what we are going to do in the future? I had to think about this for some time before the Holy Spirit helped me understand what he was trying to tell us in 2019.
The deeper meaning in verses 13-16 is that God’s will trumps every plan we make if it is not in line with His purpose for our life. Can we truly understand and believe this? If so, we will be humble in our hearts and live surrendered to His Spirit as we go through our day. We don’t have to say “If the Lord wills……” out loud all the time but we will live that way in our relationship with Him. Once we understand this and begin to live this way in our spiritual nature, we can’t go backwards. If we forget what we have learned, if we begin to make plans and brag about them with no thought of God – then we are sinning.
This same principle applies to other areas of spiritual growth such as trusting God to provide or loving your neighbor. Once we make progress spiritually, we need to keep moving forward because to go backwards is sin.
Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church www.emanuelreformedchurch.com and she can be reached at 828-962-8196 or email@example.com.
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