June 11 I Thursday
“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” —James 4:14
Most of us will agree the older we get the faster time flies. James says our lives are not only exceedingly brief but exceedingly precarious. He writes, “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.’” He then expresses the folly of that thought, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow” (James 4:13-14).
What James is saying is that we make our plans as though our lives are never ending and as if we are in charge. The Bible talks quite a bit about the brevity of life. Job 7:7 says, “…my life is but a breath.” Psalm 102:3 says, “For my days vanish like smoke...” Moses gives a remarkably accurate comment on the average lifespan that still exists today. He says, “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures…” (Psalm 90:10).
Nothing wakes us up to what is important in life than when we are facing death. No one on their deathbed says, “I wish I had spent more time in the office.” Someone else once said, “If you live each day as if it was your last, one day you will be right.” We are not privy to when that day comes, but the truth is we do not know how to live well until we know how to face death. C.S. Lewis once said, “There are, aren’t there, only three things we can do about death: to desire it, to fear it, or to ignore it.” The gospel of Jesus Christ actually encourages us to desire it, and it is the fool who ignores it. Though we do not usually like to talk about death, we need to be ready for it practically, emotionally and spiritually, and there is no better way than to have the mindset of Paul: “…to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Until that day comes, how do we live this life? James 4:15 tells us, “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” “If it is the Lord’s will…” is the key, because the Lord does have a will for our lives. The two letters DV, commonly used for digital video, is actually Latin for Deo volente, which means “God willing.” This avoids the folly of thinking we can create our own destinies and are somehow invincible. As Christians, our lives have been surrendered to Jesus Christ, and whether we live to be 20, 40, 70 or 90 years of age is not going to make a difference when we arrive in heaven. Our lives belong to Jesus. We are in His hands and His will prevails.
Prayer: Lord God, forgive me for thinking that I am in control of this life. Help me to live with the mindset of Deo volente, remembering that You are ultimately in control. Thank You, Lord.