I wrote this for Neil’s blog, but he said I could cross-post it, and he does make all the rules.
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.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:13-17)
Arrogance is a problem in many people’s life. Even those whom we consider to be the most meek, mild, and humble, many times belie their arrogance by there actions. No they don’t look down their noses at others, no they don’t think any more highly of themselves than they do others, no they don’t miss Sunday morning worship, Sunday evening service, or Wednesday night prayer meeting. But when we leave church do we live our lives in light of eternity? To ignore the eternal out of preference for the temporal is arrogance of cosmic proportions.
James calls to attention all who would live life as though this life is all there is. He vocalizes the attitude of their hearts. “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit.” This attitude is an attitude of arrogance. James gives us three reasons that it is arrogant.
First, we are arrogant because we are ignorant of our tomorrow. We do not know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t control the circumstances that surround us. Only God does. And only He can know what tomorrow holds for us. Just as the farmer cannot make it rain on the freshly planted crops, and cannot make the sun shine for the harvest, we cannot control our destinies. This is contrary to what the world would have us believe. According to the world we are the masters of our destinies. We are told to take control of our lives. The Christian message is the opposite. We must give up control of our lives, yea, even give up our lives themselves for Christ to work His will in us.
Second, we are arrogant because we are ignorant of the brevity of our lives. Our lives are lived in a haze, each passing day adds nothing to our past, and yet our future grows shorter. Whether a small child who dreams of Christmas morning, only to find that it has already passed in a moment of time, or an aged father who looks back on his life and sees only the fleeting shadows, we live as though life will continue forever and yet death is as close as our next heartbeat.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And yet we seek to live in the moment. Cries of “Carpe Diem!”, ring across the world, through the ages, and their echo is heard in Christ’s Church as well. May we all trade our cries of, “Carpe Diem!”, for cries of “Deo Volente!”, (God willing). These are the words that Pastor James longs to hear. Words that cry from the heart, “Lord, work your will in me! Make my life a testimony to the reality of an eternity of basking in your glory!”
Our lives are meant to be lived in the enjoyment of God’s glory, and laying up treasures for ourselves in His presence. This is what it means to have eternal life in the here and now. To prepare our hearts to enjoy Him in worship for all eternity.
Finally, we are arrogant because we are ignorant of our sin. We are very careful to avoid breaking the Ten Commandments. We train our eyes to turn away from evil. We guard our hearts from evil thoughts. And yet we do not love our neighbors as ourselves. We do not give of ourselves for the good of others. We have strained at the gnats of the Law and ignored the weightier matters of the Divine life. Our lives are to be lived for Christ. We are His body. He is our head. It is our duty to do what He has commanded, as well as abstain from what He has prohibited. And it is He who will work in us to live, move, and do of His good pleasure.
Avoid arrogance. Live in light of eternity by endeavoring to do God’s will.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mat 6:33)