Finishing up one year and starting another always marks a great time to start fresh, to make new plans and to head in another, better direction.
The passage below from the book of James provides the perspective we need as we start fresh and make new plans:
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 (ESV)
From this passage, there are several important reminders.
1) “You do not know what tomorrow will bring…” Try as we might, we don’t know what the future holds. We say we will go and do, but who are we to make such plans? When we ponder this truth, it reminds us that it is God who does know. We are in His hands. This should modify our perspective on life.
2) “What is your life?” The answer: a mist. We are here and gone. We are nothing. God, however, is eternal. Again, our perspective changes in view of who we are and who God is.
3) “Instead you ought to say…” Instead of plowing ahead and trying to strong-arm our way, our point of view should be to conform our lives (and, therefore, our plans) to what pleases God.
This is the right perspective. This is the right way to handle things. And James lets us know this with the reminder, “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
So as we plan our 2014, will we honor God with our planning or will we knowingly do the wrong thing?