“If the Lord Wills”

James confronts businessmen who make plans without any thought of God’s will (Jam.4:13-17). They presume upon God’s will by declaring what they “will” do this or that. “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit.” James rebukes their arrogance by telling them that they know not what tomorrow will bring or whether in fact they will even be alive tomorrow! He also corrects their error – “Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” It is perfectly acceptable to make plans, but we must also do so with God’s will in mind. That does not mean we presume to know the will of God in advance, but we must with wisdom make decisions and plans while fully realizing they are contingent upon the will of God. Paul said it this way in his desire to visit the Corinthians. “For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits” (1 Corinthians 16:7). He did not say “I will visit you” or even that it was the Lord’s will that he visit them. He would make plans to do so, but those plans were contingent upon the will of God. “If the Lord wills!”