13 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.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
Boasting is the opposite of humility. Humility means that God is in control of our life. Boasting means that we believe that we are in control of it. It’s probably pretty common for someone to survey all that they have and think “Look at what I’ve done. See what I’ve accomplished.” But the truth is that what has been accomplished is only done with the grace of God and the gifts that God has given that person.
It’s ok to make plans. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty wise to make plans. There is certainly a place for faith in everyone’s life but God also gave us wisdom that He expects us to employ. This means that God should be in our plans.
James reminds us that just because we make plans it doesn’t mean that they are going to come to fruition. Often God has other plans. It doesn’t necessarily mean that our plans were sinful, just that there are some things that people don’t usually plan for. People don’t plan to get sick. People don’t plan for disasters to happen. People don’t build houses with wheelchair ramps because their mother might get sick and have to move in with them. We don’t plan for these types of things. And that’s the point. When we do plan, we need to make those plans while acknowledging that God may have something different in store for us.
We need to remain humble in our walk with God because things happen that we don’t plan on. We make plans with faith in God in mind. And then when some of those plans don’t come to fruition, it is faith in God that keeps us from falling apart. We don’t make plans like the rest of the world does. Because we are friends with God we make plans knowing that when they change, He’s going to see us through them.