James 4:13-17

You Are Not In ControlCome 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 warns against assuming what the future holds.
  • Your life is like a mist.
  • You are here a little while and then you are gone.
  • Instead of presuming the future we need to realize we only do what God wills.
  • You boast in your arrogance.
  • Boasting is evil.
  • Failing to do what you know is right is a sin.


It is a foolish thing to assume death will never arrive. You can make plans but they are all in vain if God wills something to the contrary.

James is not condemning a manner of speech. For even those who recognize God guides their steps may say they will do this or that. They may make promises for the future.

Rather James is condemning an arrogance where you assume you are in control. In arrogance, you ignore the sovereignty of God. You forget your own weakness. You assume you have the ability to control your destiny.

James reminds you, you  do not control your own life. You are here only a little while. Then you will be gone for much longer. When you are gone there will be no sign of your even having been here. As a general rule, within three generations no one will remember you ever lived. It will be as if you never existed. Poof! You are gone like a mist.

That which last has more valuable than that which is temporary. Which is more valuable, a home to protect you and your family or a vacation to an exotic resort? The home will last. It may even last for many generations. A vacation will last a week. It will provide memories which fade. A wise person recognizes that a home provides more value than a week’s worth of fun.

We are to spend our life on the more valuable items. God is eternal. That means God is the highest value of all. It is not you. Is is not even your family. Spending your life dedicated to God is the wisest and most correct way to spend your life.

Bringing glory to God is your purpose. If you know what is the right thing to do and don’t do it, that is a sin.

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