God’s Kingdom and Will in Our Lives

James 4:13-17

13 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.” 14 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. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

In our passage today we see a toxic combination of pride and greed that work together to direct a person’s life. It’s like starting a business so that people will see that you are successful and that you are making lots of money. We may not do this ourselves, but our culture is full of this kind of thinking.

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Sam Walton, Mark Zuckerberg. Why do we know their names? Are these men honored for their character?


  1. God’s Will Versus Man’s Will
  2. Planning is not the issue

Making plans is necessary and normal. This passage is not about making plans. Instead it’s about how our plans are made and how we determine the success or failure of our plans. Success in life is motivating. No one says, I want to be a failure and then participates in things that they fail at over and over again because they like it. That makes no sense. But, the definition of success or failure is incredibly important.

I had a friend who work for a medical supplies company that was family owned. He was a salesman. The family sold the business to some investors who demanded that he raise prices to the customers that he had developed a relationship with so that they could show a greater profit and then turn around and sell the company to others. In the meantime, the salesman and customers do worse while the investors use this short term strategy to maximize their profits. Is that success? I think not! The Bible has much to say about how we treat people and how God treats people. We are to be like God.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

If we fail to act in this manner can we be a success?

  1. God’s will must be first

The very first commandment. No other God’s before Me! Who      decides what the plan for our lives should be? What are the     values that shape what we think is important? Family, money,        time, peace, love, helping others etc.

One of the things that I always appreciated about working for      Stoby’s is that there is a real value for helping people with their lives. There is no working on Sunday unless there is a special     project. That is a huge reason why I worked there to begin with.

I Samuel 2: 30 “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.


  1. Pride is the issue here

I will go there for a year

I will do this or that

I will make money

I will return

Add the phrase: If it’s the Lord’s will. And it’s not about words,    it’s about attitude! We will unpack this in part three. But, first, a         word about greed.


  1. The Trouble with Greed

       Since we love money in our culture, I think it’s a good idea to      stop here for a minute and rebuke the attitude of greed.

  1. Greed amounts to idolatry

Colossians 3:

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.


  1. Greed is a trap

        I Timothy 6: Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

There are plenty of places in Scripture where God promises to bless people financially. But if we stop there and say that the financial success is the sign of His blessing, then we are missing out. Jesus says it is MORE blessed to give than to receive. God’s intent in blessing people financially is not to create greedy people. God is a giver. We are to reflect that attitude as well. It is gratitude and contentment that make us really wealthy.


  1. Greed does not produce life

        I Timothy 6:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Proverbs 30:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.


“You cannot love God and money.” Who said that?


III. If it is the Lord’s Will

  1. God works in mysterious ways

We don’t always know what God is doing. This should make us     first process oriented. We make sure we are doing what God has        called us to and then allow Him to manage the results.

Just because we don’t know what God is doing does not     mean that God is not at work!!

My story of being fired from Stoby’s.


  1. God’s will is never frustrated

        Romans 9: 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”

Ephesians 1: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.


  1. God’s will is success
  2. Get counsel: Proverbs 15:22

            22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they         succeed.

But don’t ask for advice after God has spoken!!


  1. Commit your plans to the Lord:

Proverbs 16:3

            3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.


  1. The Lord’s purpose will prevail!

Proverbs 19:21

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s        purpose that prevails.