As we continue through Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, we see an interesting admission. Paul has to apologize to them for not being able to complete a visit that he had scheduled with them.
I think that it can be a lesson to us all.
Because I was confident of this, I planned to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, “Yes, yes” and “No, no”? But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”
2 Corinthians 1:15-18
Paul had to clear up this misunderstanding so that the church would understand the difference between his plans and his message. The word, planned, in the above verse actually means to be willing.
So Paul is saying that he was confident about his ability to get there and he was willing to go as well. His goal was to visit them twice as he traveled to and from Macedonia.
Paul makes it clear that he doesn’t plan his trips lightly. He takes everything into consideration.
Even more than that, he literally says that he does not make plans in a fleshly manner. Paul always strove to operate in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He had made this planned visit after much prayer.
He didn’t approach his ministry with a frivolous attitude. He didn’t think, “I’ll tell them I’m coming for a visit, but I’ll play it by ear. We’ll see while we’re on the road whether I want to go there or not.”
We need to learn the lesson of submitting our plans to the Lord. It’s not a matter of making our plans first, then asking God to bless it. It’s all about finding God will first. Then we know the plan is blessed already.
James understood this and wrote about it.
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 and brag. All such boasting is evil.
When James says that you boast and brag, it literally means that you rejoice in your self-confidence. That’s the key to what he’s speaking of; SELF-confidence. When we’re confident in what we can achieve, we usually forget about God and His desire for our lives.
One of the problems in translating is that there’s not much punctuation in the original Greek. There’s sometimes more than one way to read a verse depending on which word you emphasize.
I believe that, in the context of what James is saying here, a better way of reading the first line is, “Instead, you ought to speak if it’s the Lord’s will, and live, and do this or that.”
It’s all about spending time with the Lord, knowing His will, and then speaking about what He’s told us to do. If you’re going to do something, do it because you feel led by the Holy Spirit.
Question: What plan has the Holy Spirit given you as you’ve spent time in His presence?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi