Acts + Letters Lesson 29 Day 4

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James 4:11-17

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10)

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)

9. Don’t judge or boast about tomorrow.

Don’t slander others or judge them. 

If we are truly humble and receive the grace of God (James 4:6-10), then we won’t judge, as this verse is instructing. Those who become critical of others while claiming to have the revelation of grace are deceived. True grace people are gracious. This doesn’t mean they don’t discern what’s right and wrong, but those who have a good grasp on grace are kind, not judgmental.2

This sin is wrong for two reasons. First, it breaks the royal law that we should love one another. Second, it takes a right of judgment that only God has.1

Avoid arrogantly exalting ourselves. 

He’s not saying it is wrong to make plans, but remain humble and stay in close relationship with God.

Self-importance, power, and self-sufficiency seduce us and lead to boasting.

This boastful arrogance is the essence of sin: a proud independence, the root of all sin, as was the case with Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-15) and Adam (Genesis 3:5-7).1

Instead, our attitude should be, “Not my will, but yours, Lord.”

Failure to do the right thing is sin.

Even Paul struggled with this. “For the good which I desire, I don’t do; but the evil which I don’t desire, that I practice.” (v. 19 of Romans 7:15-20)

10. Proper approach to planning

The approach James rebukes doesn’t mention God.

The attitude expressed in the Greek presumes with certainty an outcome beyond human control. As Spurgeon wrote, “There are two great certainties about things that shall come to pass—one is that God knows, and the other is that we do not know.” (Spurgeon)

It’s important that we attend to our everyday duties. Many verses warn against laziness and idleness. The word sluggard appears repeatedly in Proverbs. 

Scripture encourages diligence. “He becomes poor who works with a lazy hand, but the hand of the diligent brings wealth.” (Proverbs 10:4)

“And whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men,” (Colossians 3:23)

So, we need to do a certain amount of planning. We seek first to please the Lord, work with our spiritual eyes and ears inclined toward him, and always willing to make adjustments if he prompts us to.

Paul understood this principle and followed it.

In Acts 18:21 he said to the Ephesians, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem, but I will return again to you if God wills.”

And “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord is willing. And I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.” (1 Corinthians 4:19)

Also, “For I do not wish to see you now in passing, but I hope to stay awhile with you, if the Lord permits. (1 Corinthians 16:7)

11. Personal

What a perfect time to discuss how little control we have over our lives!

I had no clue the quarantine would continue so long and disrupt our lives and the economy so much.

Yet, here we are. Wondering when life will get back to normal, and if that’s even possible.

Some are protesting because they want to go back to work.

And some because they want to hang out on the boardwalk.

Others are working longer hours. Still others mourn the loss of a loved one.

I hope, like me, more are listening to His still small voice for guidance, peace, and the next right thing.

If they don’t know our Jesus, I pray thousands upon thousands meet Him right where they are.




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Resources


1 EnduringWord.com
2 AWM Living Commentary

Unless noted, all Scripture from public domain WEB translation.

My answers, research, and notes for BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 29 Day 4