Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow … Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
God’s plans for us are rarely the ones that we have set in our minds. The dreams we most often form in our minds are ones that result in success and monetary gain, ones which are built upon our hard work and amazing talents. They are dreams that end with our feet up in a well-deserved vacation home, where we can finally live in leisure after years of hard work and concentrated efforts on achieving personal success. These are the dreams that the world wants us to embrace. And the prince of this world knows he can convince us rather easily to do anything for the fame of our own name.
God’s plans for us are often different, however, and they have nothing to do with the fame of our name. They are summed up quite succinctly like this: if it is the Lord’s will, we will remain alive and do whatever He asks (James 4:15). What clear and simple instructions! God willing, all we must do is live and obey. This is such a humbling contrast to the ways of this world, which tell us we must fight to get all we can. We are taught to make plans, conquer the world, and achieve success for ourselves. However, God makes it clear that these types of selfish ambition are not part of our job description. Instead, He simply requires that we submit to Him and serve Him with a humble heart.
When we get to the point in our lives where we can understand and accept this calling, we are closer to embracing the life that Christ has called us to. Jesus Himself provides the perfect example of living in submission to God, His father. When He walked this earth, He did not spend His time planning, scheming, or strategizing on how to be the best savior He could be. He simply listened to His father and obeyed. Even at the point of His own death, Jesus submitted completely, saying, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
If our lives as Christians could display a fraction of the obedience Christ had, what great advances we could make for His kingdom on this earth! Let us walk in submission, as Christ did, as we answer the call to live for God and to do whatever He asks.
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by Jill Holler
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Jill Holler grew up on a farm in western Illinois, enjoying a life of running free through the pastures during the day and gazing at the countless shimmering stars at night. All around her, she could see the work of God’s creative hand, and she knew He was real. Yet it wasn’t until years later that she would discover the abundant life of faith that comes from taking hold of the living power that resides in God and His word. After struggling to find purpose and meaning for much of her young adult life, she found that it resides simply–yet powerfully–in Jesus Christ, her God and Savior.