The Uncertainty of Life

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)

I. We often like to plan for the future.
1. It gives us a sense of security knowing what is coming next.
2. Especially if we are working toward a certain goal.
3. But we do not know with certainty what is coming next.
4. Our best plans could be in vain.
5. Many things could happen that are beyond our power to control that can completely change our life.
6. James Johnson, the young man that lived behind the preacher’s house across the street, had many plans for his children and grandchildren,
a. He bought the house and installed an aboveground swimming pool for the family.
b. He was always working for the benefit of himself and others
c. He was a good neighbor and attended Merriman Baptist Church.
d. He planned for his earthly future; he was not expecting death.

II. Our life is uncertain.
1. James reminded us that our time on this earth is as “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
2. Events in our life are uncertain.
3. Sue Casey suffered an unexpected brain aneurysm
3. Instead of saying, “We will go to such and such a city,” we should say, “If the Lord wills.”
4. After all, He is the one in control.

III. Failure to recognize.
1. How little control we have over the events that impact our life constitutes arrogance.
2. We are nothing.
3. We should not think that our plans are set in stone.
4. This is not to say we should not make plans.
5. That is not what James was teaching at all.
6. Make plans; but condition them with the phrase, “If the Lord wills.”

IV. While we might feel secure
1. “Knowing” what our future holds, realizing that we cannot know what will come tomorrow can cause anxiety and fear.
2. But even though we are not in control, it is not as if no one is in control.
3. God is in control.
4. Therefore, we should not be anxious about the future.
5. Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34).
6. Regarding the necessities of life, He said:
“Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:32-33).

V. If you ever feel overwhelmed
1. Or tempted to worry about what life may bring, remember that you can cast “all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
2. Remember the words of the apostle Paul:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

VI. Invitation
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

By Gary Murphy

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