Recently, we have been studying through the Book of James on Wednesday nights. In chapter four, James poses this question, What is your life? Take some time to consider this question, and the answer James gives us.
James tells us that our lives are like a vapor, a puff of steam, that are here for only a short while and then disappear. While this may be hard for us to relate to or understand, in light of eternity, our lives only last for a very short time. In this passage, James admonishes Christians in the church who had made their own plans without acknowledging the sovereignty of God. It isn't wrong to make plans. But we must realize that God has the ability to allow our plans to succeed or fail. He may even change our plans entirely. James confronts us with the reality that God is in control - not us.
There are many things that can occur in our lives that are not in our control - a serious illness, a wayward son or daughter, an unexpected loss of a loved one. Although we have responsibility for our decisions and actions, ultimately God is in control of our circumstances and our future. Our lives are in His hands, not our own.
What ought this realization lead us to? James points us to the answer in the last verse of the chapter by telling us to do what we know is good. Doing good can include many things - helping a neighbor, encouraging another Christian, evangelizing the lost, relieving the oppressed. We may not be able to do everything that is good, but there are things we can do that are good.
Why should we do what we know is good? Because life is short. It is only a vapor and will soon be gone. Make the most of your life for Jesus Christ. Live your life in view of eternity. Do what you know is good while you have the opportunity.
Pastor Ben Newman