What Is Your Life?
January 1, 2022
For what is your life? (James 4:14).
As we begin this new year, I thought it good for us to consider this question posed by our Lord’s half-brother in his letter to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad (James 1:1). It is a profound question and worthy of our attention given the trials we have faced over the past 2 years and the uncertainty that lay ahead of us.
Some in our church family have experienced serious illness from COVID, and a few have died from it. Others have graduated to heaven simply because it was in God’s timing for them to do so. Some have faced reversal in their financial resources, others have had their employment modified or have lost their jobs outright. Certainly the church has suffered through closure by government mandate, then re-opening because we felt the need to do so. We also shut down for a short time because COVID had affected so many in the church. All of these things have caused the church to suffer in attendance, financial support, ministry involvement, and low morale. It causes us to rethink our life, priorities, desires, and goals.
As you think about the new year, consider James’ question, what is your life? He answered the question, It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Moses said, The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away (Psalm 90:10). Those of us who are older now see how fast time flies by. So, what do we do to make the time count?
James reminds us that all of our ‘plans’ for the year are but speculation - Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit . . . .” (James 4:13). Not a bad thought. Not an unworthy plan to consider. However, . . . whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away (James 4:14).
James is not being a killjoy. He’s being realistic. He is tempering dreams with reality. He is calling us to think about our future. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (James 4:15). This is not to say we shouldn’t have dreams, desires, and goals for the new year, but it is to say how many of these things include Jesus and what He desires for us? The hymn-writer sang, “Little is much when God is in it! Labor not for wealth or fame. There’s a crown, and you can win it if you go in Jesus’ name” (Kittie L. Suffield, 1924).
“Lord Jesus, as we face this new year may we realize Your will and purpose for us in every goal, plan, or desire we have. May we be sensitive to the leadership of Your Holy Spirit as He leads us to live our lives for Your honor and glory. In Your name I pray, Amen.”