Living an authentic Christian life & tests in our life. The Book of James is a good reference mirror to how we live our life. What directs our steps, what influences our plans and how do we view our own lives?
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.- James 4:13-17
-Single -> Married
-Married -> Family & Children
-Advancement in Career
-Starting a Business
-Hobbies, Sports, Ambitions
We Have a vision or desire for the future and then we plan. This effects every aspect of our lives
-How we invest our time
-How we invest our money
-How we lead our families
-How we have conversations
-What we think about and mediate on
This scripture gets the the heart of our view of this life, how we make decision and what role the Lord plays in how we live our lives day to day.
-Boasting & Confident about their plans for the future
-The message of this is more about how we live our lives
-Do we live our lives according to our will and plan?
-How do we include God in how we live our lives?
-Do you not know that our lives are nothing but a mist?
If we are honest with ourselves, most of us, if not all of us, do what we want will little or no prayer to God for council and direction. You may pray here or there about a new job or about a big life decision, but for the most part, asking God for his will in what we do in our lives is not a normal routine for us.
Jesus’ Life, A Mission to Acomplish His Father’s Will
If we want to see the perfect model on how to live our life, let us look at the life of Jesus
And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?- Luke 2:48-49
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.- John 4:34
But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.- John 5:36
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.- John 6:38
So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.- John 8:28
However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.- Luke 5:15-16
The way that Christ lived His life was totally in step with the will of God. Nothing that He did was of His own will but the will of the Father. Jesus made a lot of decisions but every decision he made was in unison and in parallel to the will of the Father.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.- Mathew 7:21
-When would He begin His ministry?
-Who would He heal?
-What city would He live in?
-What disciples would He choose?
-Who’s house would He eat at and minister in?
Jesus life reflected that of a servant in an extravagant mansion. Doing all that the master asked with an obedient attitude, always waiting and asking for direction from the Father. In everything He did he was carrying out God’s will. Is making plans bad? Not at all. Making plans are good!
-What is our attitude about making plans?
-Are we set / do we boast in our plans with no regard to God?
James says that such boasting is evil. What boasting is that? He is referencing the statement from the people that are laying out their plans to go and do this and that. How should we plan?
1. Don’t Be Arrogant
-Let us not be so confident or pompous in our planning for the future. We do not know if we will be granted another day of life.
-Our attitude about the future keeps God as the sovereign master of our lives. We love being the masters of our destiny, life and schedule.
2. Read His Word
-When we keep our hearts saturated with the Word of God, our decision making/planning becomes much more God centered and eternity minded.
-How do we know God’s will if we don’t read His word!
3. Seek Wise Council
-Are we seeking wise/Godly counsel?
-Are we meeting with or counseling with a pastor/mentor or other spiritually mature Christian?
4. Pray For Holy Spirit Guidance
-How often are we asking the Holy Spirit to guide us in our planning and decision making?
5. Plan With God Centeredness
-How much of my planning is worldly centered?
-Is my planning mostly centered around my own pleasure/leisure?
A. Hobbies/Sports/Leisure are not wrong but are they in moderation and secondary to spiritual things?
-What am I thinking about when we are planning?
A. Am I thinking about eternity?
B. Am I thinking about righteousness?
6. Plan With A Spirit of Openness
-Do not be so dedicated to your future that your life is shaken if something changes or your life takes a detour.
-A good test to how open we are to God being sovereign is how do we respond when things do not go our way.
A. Do we get a bad attitude?
B. Do we get bitter toward God?
C. Do we question God?
The Plate of Your Life
1.What is the size of your plate?
If our life is a plate, there is only so much we can fit onto the plate. There are only so many hours in the day and so much that we can handle. While Jesus was on earth, he subjected himself to human limitations. He had limited time and energy. This is why he often withdrew to pray and rest. The Father’s will for Jesus even included Jesus taking a nap and resting.
-Many times we have plates that are overloaded with too many things. “Jesus’ Life was not spent being as productive as He could but being obedient to the will of the Father”
-Too many activities scheduled
-Too many projects we have taken on
-Too many relationships we maintain
-Too much “stuff” in our lives
A. We love to be productive in America
B. We have a go, go, go mentality
C. Jesus only took on so much on His plate
-There is only so much we can fit while still being good stewards
The main goal of our lives and planning is not productivity but obedience to the will of God.
WE NEED TO EVALUATE AND UNDERSTAND THE SIZE OF OUR PLATE
2. What do you need to take off your plate?
See, the reason that you and I get burned out, even extended and exhausted is we’re doing things that the Father didn’t tell us to do, and we’re not doing some things that the Father told us to do like take a nap, take a day off. We can give the impression that we’re busier than Jesus, that we’re more essential than Jesus. He knew exactly what he was to be doing, and that’s all that he was doing, and he didn’t do anything else, and he didn’t do anything less. And so he lives without any sin. And then he goes to the cross and he substitutes himself, and he dies in our place for our sins.- Mark Driscoll
More often than not, we have overloaded plates and need to take things off. Our natural desire to be productive causes us to take on more than we should. The natural flow of life is in times and seasons.
-There are times where we need to evaluate our plate and take things off.
-Jesus took carpentry off his plate when he went into ministry. There was no way that Jesus could have continued to be a full time carpenter and start His 3 years of ministry.
-When we don’t evaluate, pray and seek God for what we put on our plate that we keep many things on our plates far longer than we should, causing
burnout, discouragement and frustration.
Sweet, I don’t have to do anything!. . . . . No. This is not en excuse to get out of commitment or obligations. When taking things off our plate we must spend time in prayer, in His Word and in wise council.
3. What do you need to put on your plate?
More often then not, it’s the things of God that we lack on our plate
-Meditation on His Word
-Bible Study / Small Group
-Going to Church