A shallow faith dwells on the past and worries over the future. A fuller faith finds contentment, peace, and power in the present.
Scripture - James 4:13-15
Pay attention, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such-and-such a town. We will stay there a year, buying and selling, and making a profit.” You don’t really know about tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes. Here’s what you ought to say: “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Unpack It! James is a complicated letter in the New Testament, in fact at one point, Martin Luther wanted it removed from the canonized Bible during the Reformation. James is a divisive text because he leans heavily on the idea of turning faith into action, along the same lines of John, like we read last week. Here, we see James’ view on the Christian faith taking him to the extreme of living in the moment and doing whatever it is God calls him to do whenever God calls him to do it.
Discussing the Text
James says we don’t really know what tomorrow holds, and suggests we simply forget about it. Is the Bible saying to stop planning anything in life? Go deeper, what do you think James is trying to say?
James describes us as mist that quickly vanishes. Does this mean our lives are meaningless? Again, James uses strong language, what is he trying to say with this metaphor?
James suggests we live life at the will of the Lord. Easier said than done, right? When is it easiest to trust God in the moment? When is it the hardest?
Questions for Deeper Faith
Is there a time when you had a hard time letting something go? What was it? Share, if you can.
What do you spend most of your time worrying about? Is it something you feel like you could trust God with? Why or why not?
How would living more in the moment change your life? What are some concrete examples of things you might do differently?
What would it take for you to move on from the past or to let go of the future? How can we be in prayer for you as a small group to help you with this change?
Eternal God, you find us exactly where we are. You meet us in precisely this moment. And yet, most moments, we miss you entirely. We look backwards or forwards and forget to find you here and now. This week, simply remind us of the power of the present, remind us that the past is in the past, and our worries over the future are fruitless. Call us to the radical present, the moment that we have now and will never have again, so that we may live as your faithful children exactly as you would lead us. Let the peace that passes all understanding find us here. In the name of the one who was and is and is to come, Jesus Christ, Amen.