(A reprint of an article written by my gifted brother, Bo Rye.)
Are you a "planner"? I believe that most of us are, to one degree or another. Many of us recognize this as a positive trait, necessity to accomplishing goals. On the other hand, would you consider yourself to be a "boaster"? You know, a person who can't carry on a conversation without bragging about something they've done. Telltale phrases include, "I don't want to brag, but…" or "I hate to toot my own horn, but…" Of course, those hearing these lines know they are in for some real boasting (or horn-tooting)! The bottom line is, being a "planner" is normally positive, while being a "boaster" is NOT.
As Christians, we may tell others about our plans to do such-and-such tomorrow, next week, or even next year. When doing so, we likely consider ourselves as "planners", not "boasters". Yet, we don't always think about how little control we have over what will happen tomorrow (much less beyond). By not reminding ourselves of how brief this life can be (as well as how little control of outside forces we have), we can open ourselves up to sounding boastful.
James 4:13-16 reminds us that failure to acknowledge the key part the Lord plays in ALL our future plans makes of guilty of "evil boasting"! “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.”
We'd do well to train ourselves to remember these words when sharing our plans! This can accomplish several great things: 1) It will remind us of Who is really in charge of what we will do; 2) It will remind our hearers (or readers) of Who is really in charge of what we will do; 3) It will reveal our belief in God and His power to others; 4) It may prompt unbelievers to ask why we say “IF THE LORD WILLS”, giving us the opportunity to testify about God!
Jesus, always Jesus!