Monthly Archives: May 2011

♣ The Lord Who Wills Our Tomorrows

James 4:13-16

Verse 13 – “If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.”

Over familiarity with this particular passage of Scripture blatantly manifests itself in our self determined lifestyles. Many of us profess to believe in the inspired and infallible Word of God, but circumstances often tend to reveal how genuine our confession is. Our theology may be impeccable but worked out in actuality is another thing.

Many of us are predominantly swayed by today’s culture. After all, we are living in a fast pace, quick demanding era aren’t we? And of course, James who wrote this epistle obviously had no inclination that his exhortation would have had no relevance for future generations – so we think. We are sometimes prone to forgetting the fact that the wisdom of the Spirit of God, Who gave utterance, for what we now casually read, would be applicable for any era. Often times in our ignorance we are completely unaware of the apostle’s urgency that existed in their own day. As we peruse through our New Testament we will notice phrases such as, “The time is short…redeem the time…make the most of every opportunity…the night is far spent…the day is at hand…” that gives the idea that society’s needs were demanding then; their sense of time to accomplish all that had to be done was short – more than we assume. The Roman world (an era in which the Christian Church was birthed) was a very sophisticated empire that ruled the world, the people, their way of thinking and living. It was the ‘Status Quo’ or ‘Vogue’ of the times. We are just a little more technological and advanced with our gadget and computer orientated existence and none the better morally and ethically!

So if we concur that James’ message is just as applicable for us nowadays as much as it was two thousand years ago, how serious are we in allowing this to permeate in every domain of our life?

I wonder how the scenario would be if the advent of Jesus Christ, the early Church and the apostles took place rather in our own day and culture. How would the issue of discipleship affect our affluent lifestyles, our convictions, principles, our code of expectancy, demands and routine? I’m certain there’d be a significant amount of upset. We have our ‘cardboard’ cut-out code of life, especially in our western cultures: college, university, career, occupation, marriage, children, and grand-children – all in this order – with some hobby thrown in there somewhere along the line. Nothing wrong with this, but where things are disordered is in the realm of our perspective and motive behind them.

Somewhere along the line of our plethora of ambitions we have managed to ‘fit’ God into our schedule, but what about seeing if all this fits into God’s schedule instead? Christianity is not the icing on the cake; not something to be concerned about when one has settled down in later life, but rather a preoccupation of hearkening to Christ’s call now, “Follow Me”, where God’s will is discerned and momentarily carried out.

David Davies, a missionary to the Congo (heart of Africa), I once knew, spoke of a hymn by Frances Ridley Havergal, ‘Take My Life, and Let It Be Consecrated, Lord To Thee’. He mentioned that the easy part of consecrating his life to God was in the bigger aspects of life: ‘Take my life, my days, my hands, my feet, my voice, my intellect…’ and on it goes, but the bit that got him was, ‘Take my Moments’. Now, there was a man whose self denying, God loving lifestyle would make a fair number of us feel we haven’t even begun the Christian walk. I’m talking about a different caliber of Christianity here – not today’s kind that is easy and wishy-washy. There’s only one kind of Christianity and we either have it or we don’t. Take my MOMENTS…

God is sovereign and determines our paths even while anyone of us are deliberately walking contrary to His ways, thinking we are having our own way. What every one of us will be held accountable for by God is whose way did we pursue? We will be judged according to what prioritized our planning; whose aim did we ultimately have in mind – God’s or our own? Do we calculate our tomorrows without God in the equation?

It is the Lord Who wills us to live, Who wills our tomorrows. Nothing in all creation holds together apart from Him. We are prone to taking our life for granted. Let us be honest, how many of us really think that we breathe – this very second – because God wills it? Every day, every moment is a gift, an opportunity to explore and live God’s will. Having a mind that is transformed (adjusted to God’s way of thinking) produces the atmosphere where there will be no consulting the will of God; one becomes the will of God.

Success in one’s plans doesn’t always signify the blessing of God, and how many wrongly bank on this as proof of God’s favour! “The good is the enemy of the best.” Oswald Chambers said. The Christian’s duty is to discern God’s best, not what we think is best. Our presumptions can be so misleading. Indeed, as the Scriptures signify, that a self-predetermination without God’s consultation is arrogance and evil (James 4:13, 16). Our lives are but a mist – here one moment, gone the next. We never know what tomorrow will actually bring, despite our frail plans, and we are wisest to trust God’s orchestration of our futures, Who makes everyone’s path straight that wholly acknowledge Him in all their ways.

God holds the key of all unknown,
And I am glad;
If other hands should hold the key,
Or if He trusted it to me,
I might be sad.

What if tomorrow’s cares were here,
Without its rest?
I’d rather He unlocked the day,
And, as the hours swing open, say,
My will is best.

The very dimness of my sight
Makes me secure;
For, groping in my misty way,
I feel His hand; I hear Him say,
My help is sure.

I cannot read His future plans;
But this I know:
I have the smiling of His face,
And all the refuge of His grace
While here below.

Enough; this covers all my wants;
And so I rest;
For what I cannot, He can see,
And in His care I saved shall be,
Forever blest.

(Hymn by Joseph Parker, 1830-1902)

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