You’ve made it to the end of the week of study! Way to go! We will wrap up James 4 today.
15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
James is reminding us we should be seeking the Lord’s will for our lives. We are to seek Him daily in order to know what He would have us do or not do each day rather than making our own plans without His input. It is one of the reasons why it is important to seek the Lord in the morning so you can find out what His plans are for you each day before your day even begins.
16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
Remember from yesterday’s study, James is addressing those who make their business plans on their own and move forward with those plans without seeking the Lord. These same people were bragging about their plans. In doing so they were basically bragging about their self-sufficiency and showing their pride. We are not to be self-sufficient but God-dependent; not proud, but humble.
In addition to reprimanding them for things they were not supposed to do, he is reprimanding them for not doing the things they knew they were supposed to do. Have you ever felt like the Lord was leading you to do something? Have you ever felt that stirring in your spirit prompting you to do or say something? How often are you obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit? It is easy for us to tune out that sill, small voice but when we do, it is clear we are sinning.
The Lord uses His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us but we have to be obedient to the leading. Listening is not enough; it requires us to follow through. Sometimes we don’t follow through because it isn’t convenient, we aren’t really sure we are hearing from the Lord or even because what we feel prompted to do seems a little strange. We need to submit to His will and His plans and respond with immediate obedience. The more time we spend in His Word and in prayer the easier it will be for us to recognize His voice. Regardless of who strange the request may seem, it will serve His purpose.
There have been times when I have been speaking and I have felt the Lord leading me to share an example or change the direction of a talk I am giving. When I have been obedient, it was those examples or those changes that impacted the audience the most. Sometimes it has been exactly what someone needed to hear and they wouldn’t have heard it if I wasn’t obedient. We don’t always understand why we are to do something in the moment, but our obedience can greatly bless someone else. Another example is when I have felt prompted to call someone. There have been multiple times when I have called someone at just the right time. Calling that person at that time was not my plan, but the Lord’s. Responding in obedience has been a tremendous blessing to me because I was able to call just when a friend needed someone to talk to.
When was the last time you felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to do something? How did you respond? As we approach the weekend, spend some time thinking about the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life, when did you follow His leading and what were the results? If you didn’t follow Him, what prevented you? Your obedience may just be what leads someone else to seeing the Lord work in their life. When was the last time the Lord used you to bless someone else? It is always a joy to know the Lord has used us to bless someone else!