Lord Willing

James 4:14Text: James 4:13-17

This passage is often cited to emphasize the uncertainty and brevity of life – important lessons. It also teaches us the importance of remembering our dependence upon God – “If the Lord wills…” On this point, there are four lessons I want us to consider from this passage. If we forget these lessons, it will always lead us into sin; we will notice how in this lesson.

Mindfulness – “If the Lord wills” 

  • We must ALWAYS be conscious of God (Philippians 4:4) – remember His great blessings (James 1:17); treasure His word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11)
  • Failing to keep God in our consciousness leads to sin (Romans 1:28)
  • Why? – forgetting God, we forget the consequences of disobeying God; so we sin (Romans 3:10-18)

Humility – “You boast in your arrogance” 

  • We must recognize our place in this world in relation to God (Psalm 8:3-4) – humility leads to obedience (Philippians 2:5-8) as we deny self and follow Him (Luke 9:23)
  • Failing to remain humble, and instead becoming arrogant, will result in sin (Proverbs 16:18)
  • Why? – we come to think that we need nothing from God, including forgiveness (Revelation 3:15-19)

Mortality – “You are just a vapor” 

  • We must understand that death could come at anytime – after death comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27), which will be according to our deeds (2 Corinthians 5:10; cf. James 4:12)
  • Failing to recognize that our life is just a vapor will lead to sin (James 4:15-16)
  • Why? – no sense of urgency (Luke 12:19-21; cf. 2 Peter 3:10)

Submission – “If the Lord wills, we will…do this or that” 

  • We must seek to do God’s will in all things (Colossians 3:17) – we are to seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33); this is done by serving Him as our master (Matthew 6:24)
  • Failing to submit to God’s will always produces sin (1 John 3:4)
  • Why? – because we always submit to someone/something (Romans 6:16); if not God, then sin


  • To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (v. 17)
  • If we know what is right, but ignore God – no reason/motivation to do what is right
  • If we know what is right, but lack humility – no reason to deny self in order to do what is right
  • If we know what is right, but ignore the brevity of life – no reason to give up sin right now
  • If we know what is right, but have no desire to submit to God’s will – we will serve another master (sin)
  • We must always be conscious of God, remain humble, recognize the brevity of life, and submit to Him

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