Isaiah 14:13-14 – You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." (NIV)
James 4:15 – Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." (NIV)
Whenever I hear the words "God willing", I think of a very special aunt who was also a godmother to me as a child. She never made plans without acknowledging the Lord's will first, an attitude I came to appreciate and greatly admire. Little did she realize the positive effect of her words on me personally and how they would impact my life. Later, as a Christian, I learned that those words are not only important but necessary in order to express our complete trust in God in our daily lives, and especially in difficult times.
On the other extreme, however, the world is being influenced by a much different philosophy. Once during a Sunday school class, the popular poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley was the topic of discussion. The author boasts, "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul." Yet this attitude conflicts with the teaching of James in today's second Bible verse. Even so, it reflects the mindset of our modern society which, despite amazing progress, appears to be more plagued by uncertainty and fear of the future than perhaps at any other time in history.
Another remarkable passage to consider is found in today's first Bible verses from Isaiah 14:12-14, which have been called by Bible students "the five 'I wills' of Satan". These verses record the proud thoughts and desires of Satan, the prince of this world. He was the first being to assert his will above the will of God.
We must be cautious not to be deceived and fall victim to the same original sin of pride, wanting to be gods. But when we do fail, there is always hope. By humbly submitting to the Lord's authority, we will naturally remember to make every plan begin and end with these words: "God willing".
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, You alone are worthy of our praise, for in You, we live and move and have our being. In reverence and humility, may we always seek Your will. Teach us to honour Your name above all names, keeping our hearts from proudly serving the wrong master. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.