11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
13 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. (ESV)
Do verses thirteen through seventeen mean that we should not plan for the future? There are some who teach that these verses suggest that. A closer examination of this section, however, reveals a very different perspective. James’ point is that there are many people who make plans for their future without ever considering God and what He might have planned for them. They have decided what to do after their contract ends, whether to join an activity, or pursue a certain girl/guy – without ever considering what God would have them do. James is making the point here that we do not know what will happen tomorrow, so how can we make plans without God? Instead of making our own plans, we should seek His direction for our lives. Verse seventeen takes it even a step further. To make plans without considering God is not only a bad idea; it is sin. Further, the one who knows that he ought to seek God’s direction and doesn’t do it, sins. Not to seek what God wants you to do in any decision you make is to sin. What plans are you considering? Have you sought God’s direction? Why not ask Him about it!
Observation: What do I see?
Interpretation: What does it mean?
Application: How does it apply to me?
Implementation: What do I do?