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Author: Ron Graham


What Is Your Life?
—James 4:14

James asks, “What is your life?” (James 4:14).. There's not a lot of realism about life. The nature of life on this earth is fairly evident, yet people live life as though it were far different to the reality.

James 4:13-17

¶“13Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into this city and spend a year there, do business and make profit'. 14Yet you do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is just a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:13-14).

¶“15You should say instead, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.' 16As it is, you boast in your pride. All such boasting is evil. 17So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:15-17).

1 Accept that Life is a Mist

David said, "The days of our lives are seventy years, or even eighty if we have strength; yet their span is but toil and trouble. Our years are soon gone, and we fly away" (Psalm 90:10).

Even if we manage to increase the span to 90 or 100 or beyond, the principle is the same. Our lives in this world are a mist. They appear for a little while then vanish.

We Must Accept

We must accept that the span and events of our lives are subject to the providence of God. "You ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will do this or that'" (James 4:15).

We must also accept that Satan causes pain and trouble in this life. "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1Peter 5:8). So a short life maybe better than a long one!

We must accept on top of this that there is a purely physical problem. "You are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19).

Our physical bodies are unsuitable for everlasting life. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable." (1Corinthians 15:50).

2 Don't Try to Live by a Myth

Some people say that eternal life in heaven is a myth. They hold that physical life, this mist, is all there is. When the mist vanishes there is no eternal life revealed. There is nothing at all. Well, that is the myth.

Don't live believing the myth that life is temporary and death is for ever. Live with "hope in God... that there shall be a resurrection of the just and unjust." (Acts 24:15).

Jesus has the power to make death temporary and life everlasting —life on earth is mist that lasts a little while, but death lasts a little while too, and life in heaven will last forever.

This is the true basis for your life: "People are destined to die once, and after this comes the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

This is the true way of life: "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of humans" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Hope, Help, and Heart

You may enjoy this life, or you may hate it. But if you live the Christian life "hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5).

That hope is not in the things of this world, but in the world where Christ now lives and from where he sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper and comforter.

Let your heart be filled with love for God and the hope of Heaven, and let God help you endure this short life. Live by this help; live by this hope; live by this heart.

Acknowledge God’s Hand

"Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life" (Psalm 54:4). That is no myth. That is the truth.

This doesn't mean you can't have aspirations for this life. But if your aspirations are frustrated and life disappoints you, look beyond the mist to the life that never disappoints and is eternal.

The problem is not having goals and aspirations. It's fine to go about your business. But don't proudly think that you are in control. Humbly acknowledge God’s hand.

3 Don't Wish to Give Life a Miss

Some people suffer so terribly that they have every reason to wish their life on earth to end. But there are others whose suffering is in the shape of hopelessness.

They feel hopless because they live Godless. They could endure life, perhaps even enjoy it, if only they would turn to God.

People without God do not feast on hope and truth and faith. Some of them feel an emptiness close to agony. They believe in oblivion, and that's what they hope for.

Turning to God

God says to such people, "Repent and turn that your sins may be blotted out so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).

Those who answer God’s call will perhaps still have a hard life, but in their troubles they will have heavenly help.

Better still, their life will have meaning because they "suffer as a Christian" and "share in Christ’s sufferings" (1Peter 4:12-16).

All kinds of suffering may be regarded as a form of persecution, as Paul said, "a messenger of Satan to torment me" (2Corinthians 12:7). With Jesus involved, the battle becomes worthwhile, winnable, and even wonderful.

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