Taking God Seriously

William C. Brownson

READ : James 4:13-16

. . . you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” (v. 15)

It’s a common human failing—talking about our future plans with certainty. James challenges entrepreneurs about that: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’”

James calls time-out. He says, “Wait a minute! You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring. Your life is as fleeting as breath vapor on a cold day. What’s more, such talk is sheer arrogance. You speak as though the future were completely in your control.”

James recommends a better way of speaking about our hopes and plans, “you ought to say, ‘if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”

Do you see the difference? If we announce our plans with supreme self-confidence, we are acting as though God did not exist, as though we were the masters of our destiny. On the other hand, when we say, “If God wills,” we honor the Lord. We take him seriously. We recognize that our lives are in his hands.

Many Christians in other ages would write, after announcing a hope, the letters D.V. (From the Latin Deo volente, “God willing.”) Whether or not we say it, we should always think it.


Lord, help me make all my plans conditional on your will.