August 9, 2005

Love Does Not Boast (2)

Scripture Reading — 1 Cor. 13:4d; James 4:13-17

You ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." — James 4:15

In our reading for today James is speaking to wealthy, traveling merchants who often boasted of their future business plans. But, in general, James is also speaking to people who arrogantly make plans as though they are in control of their future. All such boasting is evil.

James reminds us, "You do not even know what will happen tomorrow." Anything can happen at any moment to derail our plans: a tragic accident, unforeseen illness, sudden death, or some other crisis. A young man I know appeared headed for a bright future. After graduation from college, he enrolled in law school. But suddenly he started hearing voices, neglected good hygiene, and locked himself in his room for long periods of time. Diagnosed as a schizophrenic, he now lives in a group home, unable to pursue the future he and others had planned for him. Only God sees and knows all, and he doesn't always reveal what lies ahead.

James also notes that a person's own life is small and fleeting: "You are like a mist that appears for a while and then vanishes."

God's love, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, enables us to overcome our sinful boasting. It moves us to make plans in a spirit of humility: "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." We trust only in God for our future.


Father, forgive me for the times I've boasted as though I were in control of my life. Thanks for your love that enables me to boast only in you. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship