This past Sunday, we put the finishing touches on another chapter in the book of James. In James 4:13-17, he addresses the subject of gospel-centered planning in the life of a Christian and instructs us that there are two possible paths before all of us: the path of presumption and the path of peace.
The presumptuous path is taken by the person who shows an excessive measure of self-confidence or as James puts it – ARROGANCE (James 4:15) and lives a self-determined life instead of a God-determined life. This path is ultimately one that believes tomorrow will always be there (thereby procrastinating in prioritizing God in their life) and believes that the results of today rest entirely on their shoulders and ability. We discovered that this path has the facade of freedom, because it is a life limited to the person traveling it, the path of presumption will eventually lead to slavary. On the flip side, the path of peace is the one taken by the person who understands and relishes in the reality that James reminds us of in James 4:14 that life is but a fleeting mist or puff of smoke. This sobering reminder might at first glance seem discouraging but in fact is quite encouraging.
Coming to grips with the reality of our smallness is liberating when we understand that such smallness is swept up into the cosmic grandeur of God’s plan of redemption. Our smallness is worthy of embracing because all of our confidence, meaning, security, purpose and dignity is bound up in the person and work of Jesus Christ - the one who took on fading flesh, died and rose, paying the penalty for sin that us "mist-like" creatures deserved so that we might be saved, solid children of God.
So in reality a God-Determined life, traveling the path of peace is the abundant life that Jesus promises in John 10:10. It’s a life that's NOT limited at all because it’s the life that Jesus achieved for us. It’s a life full of peace, joy, significance, meaning and purpose, because it’s a life reliant upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. It's a life of abundance, enjoying every moment of everyday everything that Jesus earned in his perfect sinless life. It’s a life of freedom because it’s not dependent on self and it's not for self, but instead it's a life that's all about Jesus in every way! So are you "In Christ"? If so this is your life. God gives it to you by faith! If you believe God is who He is and has done what He says He has done in the person and work of Jesus Christ - it is YOURS . So live in it - travel the path of peace, take God at His Word and live the life that Jesus has provided for you in His Son, Jesus Christ!