Thy will be done#8. “Getting ahead of ourselves.”

Thy will be done#8. “Getting ahead of ourselves.”

Scenario 1. It should surprise no one when a Christian rushes ahead to make progress in all things good. Daily he endeavours to glorify God in his work for the Lord’s church; to watch him is to be inspired to greater things. Such brethren do not waste their lives. They have no time for mind-numbing distractions, and no money for that which holds them back. They have learned that a vice-free-life is a life open to possibilities.

Scenario 2. Most of us only dream of that level of spiritual focus and self-control. Instead of powering forth to ever greater success, we are more likely to feel as if we are just bumbling along. Keeping up with work, bills and kids leaves us forever catching up with prayer, study and fellowship.

But James buys neither scenario. He speaks frankly of the sin and temptation that afflicts the pious and the harried alike.

Have you ever wondered how far each one of us is from being James’ ambitious businessman in James 4? Given half a chance most would love to be able to say: “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit”

You can see James holding up a lamp and exposing all those attitudes and motives we never admit to. Under the guise of ‘meeting daily needs’ we make plans for tomorrow as if God were a spectator cheering us on. James, speaking for God, calls this “boastful arrogance.”

So, forget about tomorrow being a mystery; it might be a no-show!

God finds no particular virtue in self-advancement. If He can raise up ‘sons of Abraham from stones,’ He can create personal progress out of thin air. James is telling us that going about our business as if we were in charge is to do evil.

That really is getting ahead of ourselves.

“Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that” (Jm.4:15).

John Staiger


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