Boasting Bad – James 4.13-17



By Andrew Kerr - Posted at Gentle Reformation:


Missing A Trick?

In my lifetime I have definitely noticed a difference in the way Christians talk. I was shocked as a late teenager to hear Christian friends rubbing their hands with hollow excitement at the prospect of going to see Bruce Springsteen – look, I like ‘the Boss’ too (at least the throaty relaxed easy-listening parts): but if they believed this was the ultimate goal in life, I honestly felt it was they who were missing out. What was missing from their conversation in those days was any mention at all of God in all their talk. I’m pleased to report that some of them, at least, have remedied their ways!
It used to be reasonably common to hear Christians say “D.V.”. If it balked at the possibility of actually naming the Lord, and if it was a little highbrow assuming a knowledge of Latin, at least there as passing nod to God and His providential rule. Sadly, even then, most only mentioned God when dressed up in Sunday best. For the most part the Name was left out of the talk.

The God with No Name?

James 4.13-17, however, warns us that if God should always be upmost in our thoughts, the mention of His Name should be often on our lips. I find it hard to imagine a Christian businessman stating to his employees ‘If the Lord wills, our company will do this or that.’ It was a sin for Donald Trump to say ‘We will build the wall’ with no mention of Christ’s help. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not an Irishman giving a political view on the States (it doesn’t ultimately matter what I think about the rights and wrongs of the wall). If the wall does eventually get built, and providence may have a hand either way, it was presumptuous and boastful to claim certainty of future achievement whatever his intent. I can imagine the angels looking down through the clouds on the presidential campaign and basking in the heat of all the rising air. I wonder did they say ‘Well, let’s just see if that’s how the planned wall on the Mexican border eventually turns out!’ So what I want to do is to give a number of reasons why Muslims put us to shame when they say ”’Insha’ Allah'”.

First Life’s Frailty And Finality v14

Tomorrow may bring a cerebrovascular accident, coronary thrombosis, pulmonary embolism or cancer diagnosis. The routine scan may turn into a terminal nightmare. Our wagon may leave the route, or an SUV mount the sidewalk. I can count at least three classmates who never left High School. The heartbreak of Columbine, road-rage in Westminster, bombing in Manchester, and empty cars in Queen’s that followed 9/11 devastation, should help us live our lives, reorder diary slots, speak humbly of our schedule, and less boastfully of projects. It our brothers across the pond are swamped by an ocean of ‘great expectations’ and ‘Megachurch’ over-optimism, the tacit Ulster-Scots are no less quick to be boastful in their hearts and congratulate themselves. How many preachers have boasted to friends of a preaching engagement next month, without paying any courtesy to the Lord who orders our steps and has decreed our latest breath.

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