Is Boasting Evil? By Mayada Naami

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.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:13-17, NIV)

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to plan. I enjoy planning events, outings, and trips. I also plan my days, weeks and months in advance. Are you a planner? Have you ever considered your planning as arrogant schemes? In James 4:16, we are told boasting in our “arrogant schemes” is evil. When I read this verse I wondered if I was arrogant when planning my future. I reflected on what it means to boast about tomorrow. As I read the full chapter, I realized that submitting myself and my plans to God is what James is teaching us. Submitting our plans to the Lord before moving forward with them is key to living a blessed life. When planning, we are being taught to say, “If it’s the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27 NIV)

The Bible tells us not to worry about our life; what we will drink or eat, or what we will wear. In Philippians 4, we are told, “Do not be anxious about anything.” We are instructed to pray in every situation and, with thanksgiving, present our prayer requests to God. He wants us to trust Him in every area of our lives. He wants us to make plans with Him and to allow Him to guide us. Let God guide your decisions about who you marry, what career you choose, and how you plan your day, week, or year. And, even when plans change, trust that He is in control and that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). When we make plans without God or ignore God’s plan for our life, we are essentially saying that we do not need Him. We are demonstrating that what God says is not important to our life. This is considered boasting and James says, “All such boasting is evil.”

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

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