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Saturday 10 August 2019

Going forward

James 4:13-17

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. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

I love a plan, especially on a family day when Ben is off work. Few things irritate me more than getting to 10am on a Saturday and us still not knowing how we are going to spend our day. At the same time, nothing irritates Ben more than talking about today’s plans before his second cup of coffee! We are learning to compromise … kind of!

I believe that there is something important and God-honouring about wanting to make the most from our life. I personally think that although selfish-ambition is sin-centred, the craving we have that leads us to (wrongly) pursue self is essentially the drive to live the God-adventure life for which He created us. Like most things, the purposes that God has for us can be contorted and confused by the enemy’s schemes, sometimes just by a whisper in our ear, “You could have all this if…”

When making decisions about this day, week, year or longer term, we must ask God to search our hearts. Sometimes it is simple to see whether our hearts are leaning to Him by looking at the smaller choices we make in our everyday lives. Are we starting the day with the simple act of reading or listening to a passage from God’s Word, or do we begin by scrolling through our Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook feeds? Maybe we start the day by switching on the news, or absorbing our first shot of caffeine for the day, living by the on trend mantra of “But first, coffee!”

But first, God. If we want to live the kind of incredible lives that God designed us for, we need to be following God’s plan for us and in tune with Holy Spirit. If we start the day with our hearts and minds driven by, “But first, God!” then our hearts will be more open to hearing God’s direction throughout our day.

That business decision? God knows the best answer for it, and wants you to make it! How to parent your kids today? God’s got a plan and is ready to share it with you. That trip you want to make? God knows whether there is a better way to spend your summer. We mustn’t separate our “secular” lives from our spiritual life. As a Christian, we have surrendered ALL to God; our careers, relationships, choices, money, time, everything!

So as we make our plan for today, let’s stop. Pray. Consider God’s Word in our decision making. Let’s start the day with the choice of, “But first, God!” and live the rest of those 24 hours with the same attitude. Soon that will be a whole year of submitting our plans to God and waving goodbye to those less-than-best selfish ambitions that we’ve held on to so tightly!

Emma Carman, Sawyers Church Ministry Team

Sawyers Church
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