We like to think the best always wins. That the deserving always are rewarded. That the strongest overcome. That if you persevere, you’ll survive. Yet, we all meet our limit (Eccl. 9:11-12). James tells us that our lives are vanishing vapors or fleeting mists (4:13-17) — here today, gone tomorrow. But James does more than just make the statement that our lives are vanishing. He demonstrates that understanding this should change the way we live today.
Today, remember who is really in control: We may make plans, but the Lord decides what will really happen. He is in control, and we are not (Prov. 16:9). Little did the rich fool think that very night his life would be required of him (Luke 12:16-21). As Christians, we should not assume that we have tomorrow.
Today, acknowledge the Lord: Not only do we need to remember who is in control, we must openly acknowledge His control and involvement (James 4:15; Prov. 3:6). In every case — success and even failure — let us openly profess the Lord’s involvement in our lives. We must have an attitude that God is in control, not us.
Today, live in the present: Obviously, there is a proper place for planning. But some people live so much in the future they lose sight of the present. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, so don’t spend too much time living there. A concern for tomorrow can overshadow the needs of today (Prov. 27:1).
Today, do what is right without procrastinating: In James 4:17, James is not talking about getting around to doing the right things sometime. His point is we don’t know what tomorrow may bring, so if we know the right thing to do, do it right now. When we fail to do something positive that God has commanded us to do, it is a sin. When it is in your power to do good right now, do it (Prov. 3:27-28).
For all of the frustrations in life, there is one great equalizer — every person dies (Heb. 9:27). Would our lives drastically change if we constantly lived under the awareness that death can await us at any moment? Let us stop and appreciate the brevity of life.
Life is short. Eternity is long. Live like it.