“WISDOM OF LIVING (4): CONTROL”         By Pastor YAU

James 4:13-17                                                        October 3, 2004

 

INTRODUCTION:  Although all the biblical virtues are good, such as love, faith, patience, forgiveness, repentance, prayer, humility, etc. they are in no way when compared with “SURRENDER CONTROL”.  The life of Jesus was an excellent example of complete surrender, especially when He told His Father: “But thy will be done.”  No life is really a dedicated life for God unless God is in absolute control.

       The desire to have control is part of the sinful nature of human being. The desire of Adam and Eve wanting to be like God is a desire to control their own lives. That same desire causes conflicts between people, businesses, social classes, military power and war. Many Christians, although claim to surrender their lives to follow Jesus, they in fact desire to have control of their lives and everything else about it.  The Scripture reference quoted above is some admonition from James to all those who desire control.

 

DESIRING CONTROL IS TO IGNORE THE WILL OF GOD: (4:13-14)

       The “you say” carries a customary pattern which means what following is a common saying, belief or practice.  From the days of James until now, people hasn’t changed a bit: they think they know it all, can handle their lives, they don’t need God in their plans for their future.  The present infinitive carries the idea of “continually” doing or saying so. They made decisions on what time: today or tomorrow, where to go: to a predetermined place, how long: a year or two, what to do: start a business, and what purpose: make tons of money. They have everything charted out, planned. They feel confident that they can handle all the details and they will be successful in so doing. But there are two things they certainly have NO control.  First, they have no control on what will happen tomorrow, and second, they certainly have NO control if they will still be alive tomorrow.

       There are so many unknown factors in this world: the economy, social condition, political system, government policies and many others. Even the wisest guy or the most powerful person on earth does not have control of any of these things.

       The frailty of life is another thing no one has control. We can do all we want to improve our health condition: proper diet, exercise, quit smoking, lose weight, just to list a few. But no one knows how long he will live or will live beyond tomorrow.  James properly described that life is like mists, short lived and uncertain.

       Where is God and His sovereignty in our daily life? Does He have any say in this? Why do men, even Christians, plan and live their lives as gods themselves? Where is the WILL of God which we vowed to follow and obey when we decided to believe in Him?

 

BOASTING CONTROL OF LIFE IS EVIL: (4:16)

       To “boast”, alazoneia, in Greek, means big mouth loud.  To “brag”, kauchaomai, in Greek, means to tell lies or pretend of fake products. Putting these two words together is to mean telling things with loud voice but they are not true.  Too many people are doing this everyday.  Most people certainly know they have NO control on anything, and yet, they pretend to have control by doing long term planning without subjecting themselves to the will and authority of God.

       The worse part of this kind of philosophy and practice is that most people do not see this kind of self confidence and reliance as evil.  To the contrary, most people credit this as wise and being responsible for the future. The Bible certainly does not discredit the value of prudence in planning for the future.  The teaching here is to remind readers not to rely on our wisdom and arrogance without considering the importance of surrendering control of life to the Almighty God.  To leave God out of our life is certainly evil.

 

BIBLICAL APPROACH ON CONTROL:  (4:15)

       James, the Apostle, suggested practical and biblical attitude related to control of life:

1)      Acknowledging the supreme control of God in our lives and things related to it. James added: “If the Lord wills,” as the ground work of control. It is the Lord who has the ultimate control on our lives and all else related. There is nothing we can or should do without the permission of the Lord.

2)      Acknowledging the value of life over things. “We will live” supercedes everything else. As Jesus said in the Gospel, what is to gain if anyone who gains the world but forfeits his life.  “Life” here represents both this life and the life to come, the eternal life.

3)      Acknowledging our duty to surrender control to God. The word “ought” means proper, correct or must be this way.  Relinquishing our right of control to God is not an option but mandatory.  Anyone at anytime tries to play the role which only God can play is a serious offense and violation to His sovereignty.

 

CONCLUSION:   Trying to control our lives and everything else about life is too much for anyone to do. If we really believe God has our best interest in His heart and is lot more capable of doing more and better, why would anyone of us want to try it himself? Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride of your life.  You are in good hands.