2 words to speak over every plan

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 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. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)

As we’ve seen throughout this series, planning is a good, God-honoring thing to do. But today’s passage reminds us that planning without recognizing our ultimate lack of control over our plans is arrogant and “evil.”

I’ve had to repent of this sin recently. A friend of mine was asking me what I’ve been working on and I said, “I’m working on a new book that will come out in October of next year.” This is a textbook example of the evil planning James is talking about, and my temptation is to do it all the time.

What’s the alternative? James tells us in verse 15: “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” If it is the Lord’s will, I’ll publish that book next October.

Why is it so important that we articulate our lack of control over our plans? Beyond the fact that it’s simple obedience to God’s Word, let me share three reasons.

First, it keeps us open to how the Lord might alter our plans. If I view a plan as “my plan” that I’m ultimately in control of, I’m going to hold that plan very tightly. But if I recognize that God alone is in control of my plan, I will hold it much more loosely and will be much more attuned to how the Lord might be calling me to change course.

Second, articulating our lack of control over our plans increases our reliance on the Lord for results. It’s a practical way to “remember the Lord your God” and that “it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth,” or bring your plans to fruition (see Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

Finally, it gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our faith to others. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard a lot of people uttering “Lord willing” at the office. Not only does this phrase signify that you’re a Christian, but at a deeper level, it communicates that you’re humbling yourself and your plans before God. 

I know it sounds trite, and I know it can sound awkward, but I’d challenge you to attach those two words—”Lord willing”—to the plans you articulate today.

Lord willing, we’ll finish that project by the end of the quarter.

Lord willing, I’ll be at that conference in December.

Lord willing, we should be able to hit that revenue number by the end of the year.

Verbalize your ultimate lack of control over your plans today, and watch to see what the Lord does with your obedience and humility!


50% Complete

Join 100,000+ Christians who receive my weekly devotional every Monday morning!