Life lessons from James #27
Arrogance of Our age.
By Pastor George Lehman
“Arrogance is knowledge minus wisdom.” – Celso
Arrogance: is over-confidence in self – in self’s abilities and self’s-reliance.
We need to always recognize God in everything.
A spiritual atmosphere is what James addresses.
James 4:13-17 (Ampl) - 13 Come now [and pay attention to this], you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and carry on our business and make a profit.” 14 [a]Yet you do not know [the least thing] [b]about what may happen in your life tomorrow. [What is secure in your life?] You are merely a vapor [like a puff of smoke or a wisp of steam from a cooking pot] that is visible for a little while and then vanishes [into thin air]*. 15 Instead [c]you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and we will do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast [vainly] in your pretension and arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.
Merely a vapor…[into thin air]* - It is God who gives us breath.
Acts 17:25-26 (NIV) - 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
We all know and have seen the effects that a Recession has on an Economy.
A recession is a consistent decline in overall economic activity resulting in the loss of jobs, rate hikes – just a down turn in our economy.
If we honest we all have times of decline - We all know the meaning of a spiritual recession.
James wasn’t interested in the economic recession, but in the recessions that plague many hearts.
The roots of spiritual recession are the same as the roots of any other kind of recession.
According to James the roots are threefold:
#1 Spiritual recession in your life can result from foolish presumptuous* (Vermetal – astrant)
*Presumptuous – Forgetting your limits
James 4:13 (Ampl) – Come now [and pay attention to this], you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and carry on our business and make a profit.”
James 4:15 (NIV) – Instead you ought to say, “if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
This person lives as if tomorrow will never come
The obsession is with making money
Materialism is his master, motivated by greed.
Nothing indicates that this is a bad person – acting unethical or unprofessional.
However his problem is his Attitude not his Actions.
He made all his plans without any consideration of God what so ever.
James called him out: “You boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
He forgot: James 4:15 (NIV) - 15Instead, you ought to say, “if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Proverbs 27:1 (NIV) – Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
So what motivates you? First do it then ask God’s approval? The warning for us is plane: Don’t make presumptions about the future without consulting God. God always knows best – He’s promise.
Ephesians 3:20 (Ampl) – Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us.
#2 Spiritual recessions can also result from “Forgotten perspectives”
James 4:14 (NIV) - 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.
That’s why James reminded us that our lives are like : “A Vapour that appears for a little time and then it vanishes away .”
It’s easy to brush right over this verse: But imagine you were caught in a fox hole with bombs exploding near to you.
Most times life and death are forgotten perspectives for many of us.
People live as though this life is all there is
For to many people act and live as if they have a Ninety nine year lease with an option to renew.
James asked – “What is your life?”
Many highly educated – Scientists & Philosophers have never been able to satisfactorily answer this question…
As Christians we know life doesn’t end when our physical bodies die. The bible answers the question.
1 Chronicles 29:15 (NIV) – “Our days on earth are as a shadow.”
2 Samuel 14:14 (NIV) – Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.
A fable is told of a Bagdad merchant who sent his servant to the market to pick up some goods for him. While the servant was making the purchases in the market place he found himself face to face with Death! In great fear he returned to his master and told him that Death had given him a menacing look and that he must have a horse so he could escape to Samara, a city some distance away. The master quickly gave his servant a horse, then went to the market place to find Death. When he found him he asked, "Why did you give my servant a menacing look?" Death replied, "I wasn't looking at him menacingly, I was merely surprised to see him here in Bagdad; for, you see, I have an appointment with him tonight in Samara."
Each of us has our own appointment. Don’t allow foolish presumptions or forgotten perspectives distract you.
Amos 4:12 (NIV) - “…..prepare to meet your God,….” → Thunders down through the centuries “Prepare to meet God”
#3 Spiritual Recessions can also occur because of “Forsaken priorities”
In James’s words “To Him who knows to good and does not do it, to Him it is Sin.”
James 4:15-17 (NIV) - 15Instead, you ought to say, “if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil, 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
James is calling us to get our priorities in order and remember the bottom line when we make any and all our plans… “If it be the Lords will.”
James was just saying → Matthew 6:33 (Ampl) - But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.
To avoid Spiritual Recession we need to keep our priorities straight.
What is God’s will? → It’s His Word.
Forsaken priorities come when we stray from God’s way and will in our lives.
James 4:17 (NIV) – Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
It’s not only the sins of willful outward acts of disobedience
But it’s also not doing what we know is right and not doing it.
May we say what Jesus said (and mean it)
Matthew 26:39 (Ampl) - And after going a little farther, He fell face down and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible [that is, consistent with Your will], let this cup [a]pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”