James 4:13-17 / Our Designs

Life is temporary. Life is in constant change and flux and then, all too briefly, it ends. In James 4:13-17 James has some words for Christian merchants who are looking to make a profit. They have their plans. They have their goals and ideas. How does a vibrant Christian faith in a sovereign God interact with these plans? How are we supposed to conduct ourselves in light of His rule and authority?

Use these questions below as you think through and meditate on the passage this week:

  • Who is James addressing in 4:13?
  • What is the problem with their thinking? (4:14)
  • How does James describe life? (4:14)
  • Why do you think James focuses on the temporary nature of our lives? (4:14)
  • What is the key phrase we should use instead as we make plans? (4:15)
  • Why is James accusing them of boasting in their arrogance? (4:16)
  • Is James addressing sins of omission or sins of commission in James 4:17?

As the Lord leads, read through James 4 this week. Meditate on James 4:13-17. Hide God’s Word in your heart as you memorize James 4:17.

Memory Verse: James 4:17, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

Passage: James 4:13-17

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”—[14] 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. [15] Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” [16] As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. [17] So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.