The Hazard of Presumption

“Come 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’ ”  (James 4:13-15).

Some people seem to run into disappointment after disappointment. They generally do not like the way their life is turning out. They have regrets about their marriage partner, career path, or financial status. But often the problem begins with what we promised ourselves. When tend to “over promise” when it comes to our own life. We carve out the “dream” life in our minds and then set out to capture it. But did we stop to ask God what He thinks/wants?

The passage in James cautions us against presumption. When we see an opportunity, we want to jump. But praying prior to action safeguards us from disastrous mistakes. When we pray to God about this, we also need to submit to Him in all things. If that is our attitude, we will face far fewer disappointments in life. We will experience trial and affliction, but in submitting to God’s will, we expect these things to come.

Two Reminders

1. We find true joy and contentment in God alone.
In seeking God, we care less about the particulars, and more about our relationship with Him. If we abide in the center of His will, we rejoice. But if we think we need this car, that house, those friends and more, our spirits will soon sink in disappointment. Seek God, ask for His will, and submit to His wise counsel.

2. Make God the chief architect of your life.
Think of His wisdom, power and love for you. How can you go wrong in sincerely asking Him for the life He has planned for you? Yet so many run from God because they think He will kill their plan for happiness. Do we ever stop to think He might be sparing us from a life of grief? We can safely trust God to do what’s best for us. The people of this world seem to get everything they want. But they soon learn they cannot buy peace of mind. In fact, in gobbling up this world’s resources they multiply worries.

We serve a wise, loving God who invites us to ask for wisdom (James 1:5). He generously gives it to us when we sincerely ask for it. He knows what’s best for us. Ask Him to run your life. It’s best to bring your dreams, schemes, and plans to God—for a major overhaul. His work might seem painful at first, dismantling all those castles in the sand. But before long, He will place you on a solid foundation, and unfold His plan for you. As your life moves forward, you will spot His hand working through all kinds of events. Best of all, His smile will rest upon you.

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