Boasting About Tomorrow

from the James reading plan

James 4:13-17, Proverbs 27:1, Acts 18:19-21, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

The older I get, the more I realize how little I know. Each season and event in my life seems to usher me into a world far larger than the world I thought I knew. Certainties give way to questions. Sureties sink under the weight of wonder. I just don’t have the grip on things like I once thought I had.

There is no place this is more evident than when considering the future. When I was young, I was sure of a number of things. I was sure about how I would live, how I would raise my kids, and what my vocation would be. But in reality, so many things go the way we plan, and this fact has a habit of humbling us as the years go by. It’s enough to make us laugh at ourselves when we’re done with the tears.

I read James’s statement—about how we do not know what tomorrow will bring—differently as a 45 year old man than I did as a 25 year old. Back then, I looked sideways at his declaration as harsh and unnecessary. After all, everyone tells others about their plans for the following day when asked. What’s the big deal?

But now I get it. We really have no idea what is coming, though we think we know so much and have so much control. James is helping us recalibrate what is at stake in our arrogance. We not only have the propensity to deny God’s sovereignty over our lives, but we also run the risk of living in fear about what tomorrow will bring.

You see, I am now wise enough to know that I know nothing about what is coming. But I am also prone to worry about that very fact. Worry is just another form of this same arrogance James warns against. I ask myself, “Why are you worried about what is coming? You have no idea what is coming!”

We do not know if the diagnosis will come, the relationship will hold, or the finances will be there. But we do know one thing about tomorrow: we know that Christ will be our certain hope. The hope of the gospel is not like the unstable hope this world offers, where we can only wish for what we want to happen. Our hope in the grace and mercy and steadfast love of God is as certain as the finished work of Christ.

The great error in arrogantly thinking we know what tomorrow will bring is that it places our trust in ourselves and our circumstances, rather than in Christ alone. If I am sure about what tomorrow will bring, then not only am I not submitting to God’s sovereignty over all things, but I am also prone to question God’s goodness when tomorrow becomes a place a fear, or doesn’t pan out like I hoped.

The gospel mercifully humbles us in the face of God’s will and gives us confidence in the face of the unknown tomorrows before us—all of them.

Written by Matthew B. Redmond

Plan to read John with us starting January 3.
Post Comments (5)

5 thoughts on "Boasting About Tomorrow"

  1. Doug says:

    I am so thankful this was in my reading today. Thank you Lord. One of my greatest sins is planning far into the future and being so inflexible when things don’t go my way or worrying so much and not having faith that God has plans for me and the best plans which might not be my own. This is a daily call to reflection for me and I need to pray into this for change. Change of heart and mind. For the good of all around me in my daily walk as well. How I plan impacts family and others. I let people down. I need to rest back into his means and grace and life life as daily as possible

  2. Andrew Flack says:

    I don’t always think of this as a sin or am even aware of it. But we could brag or make empty promises daily and that’s sin in the eyes of the Lord. I’ve never actually thought of being careful with my words. That’s something I’ve always struggled with whether if it’s lack of consideration, or swearing, or making inappropriate jokes, or even what I tell people and the empty promises I make. I really just need to focus on the idea that God is the Ultimate Compass for my life and His will is what I should be living my life by. So even in small things (like saying “if the Lord wills”) I need to be conscious of the fact that He is Lord and His will shall direct my life.

  3. Enjuju says:

    As I’m planning for my wedding, which would be in 1 weeks time, I’m starting to understand what it means when things do not go as planned. This passage emphasizes that indeed only Christ is the only stability I have in this life.

  4. Ethan Lovelace says:

    This reading reminded me of a documentary about the homeless of New York that I saw years ago. In the documentary one homeless man was asked what keeps him going and he replied, “The fact that woke up this morning means that God still has a plan for me on this Earth.” That stuck with me because I get so focused on my goals both long term and short term that I forget to ask, “Why did God wake me up THIS morning?” Everyday I should working to further the kingdom not planning how I’m going to further it in ten years. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans of good not evil, plans of a future and of hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. God knows the plans not me, so I should boast in him and his plans. Not mine.

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