Don’t Boast about Tomorrow

In his pride, Moses lost his temper and was kept from the promised land (Num. 20:1-13). Pride kept Joshua from seeking God’s will at Ai, and he lost the battle (Josh. 7). King Nebuchadnezzar’s pride turned him into an animal (Dan. 4), and Peter’s pride led to his denial of Chris … More

Pride

This passage should be understood as an illustration of what happens in a life void of humility (vv. 11-12). In fact harsh criticism of fellow Christians is one of the worst expressions of pride. The person who does it sets himself above the person he criticizes and the divine law which forbids it.

Some men seem to think that they can lift themselves up by putting another down. In fact  even some well known preachers today seem to take pleasure in doing this type of thing. Often a person who consistently does this has a poor self image. The reason he does this is to try to make himself look better than the other person. The person who indulges in this type of thing sets himself above both the person he criticizes and the divine law which forbids it (v.11b). In effect he is saying that this is a bad law and not worthy to be obeyed. Such a person removes himself from the category of “a doer of the law” and becomes “a judge of the law” (v. 11c). However, there is only one lawgiver and judge, He who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor (v. 12)?

It seems like James is addressing the wealthy business men of his day who were boasting about their plans. They were making plans as if they were going to live forever (vv 13-16). Life is like steam coming from a tea kettle. Therefore we need to invest our lives into those things which will count for eternity. The way we find God’s will for our life is by doing what God has told us in His Word, to do (v. 17). As we apply what he says we will be pleasing in His sight, walking in His will. This type of conduct takes away a right which belongs only to God. He may delegate various functions and responsibilities to human representatives, but he permits no man to share His judgment seat, or to cancel or modify His laws. He has the exclusive right to judge because He alone is the lawgiver.

Application

Have I been guilty of putting another Christian down and making him look bad? The exhortation of Romans 14:19 is “one may edify another.” I always need to think before I speak.

James 4:11-17 (English Standard Version)

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

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