I suppose that we all make plans to do things. If we are going to make a long trip, we plan where we are going to stay, the places where we are going to go, the things that we need to take with us, and the resources we will need. But there is something else we need to consider when we make plans. James 4:13-17 “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. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
Your life is a vapor, like steam coming from a hot cup of coffee that quickly vanishes. Psalms 39:4-5 “Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.” Things may happen to you that will change everything in your life. You may lose your health due to disease or an accident and be unable to accomplish your plans. Or your life may end. You do not really have control over what will happen in your future.
Planning presumes upon the future. You are presuming that you know what will happen when you do not. I believe that is one reason Jesus taught us not to swear. Matthew 5:33-37 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” When you swear that you will do something, you don’t know if you will be able to accomplish what you swear to do. You do not know what the future holds. Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 “Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him.” I believe that going into debt also presumes upon the future; one thinks he will be able to pay the debt in the future but he does not know the problems or difficulties of the future and he may not be able to repay.
Making great plans about what you will do in the future is a form of boasting. James said “But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” Boasting is showing pride and glorifying yourself. It takes the glory and honor away from God. Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.” Or, as the apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 1:31 “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 4:7 “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” Our future is given to us by God, therefore we should not boast about what we will do in the future.
Instead, we should depend upon the Lord and let Him have His way. James put it this way: “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” The apostle Paul made plans but he allowed for God’s will to change his plans. When he was in Ephesus, he told the brethren in Acts 18:21b “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” He wrote to the Romans in Romans 1:10 “making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.” He wrote the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 4:19a “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills.” Time and again, the apostle Paul made plans but allowed for the will of God to be different. And that is the way that you and I should be. Let God be in control rather than boast about what we will do.
Seek to be led by the Spirit of God. Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Isaiah 48:17 “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.’” To me, it is like asking for wisdom from God. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Ask God for wisdom and direction in your life. Let Him lead.
My encouragement to you is to make plans in your life but allow for the will of God to be different. Ask for God’s direction and follow His leading.