God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others? (James 4:12)
No matter how much we try to be in control, maneuvering for the best we think we can get in this life, all the while, God is in control of deciding the outcome. James wrote of the importance of quickly falling on our knees (at least in spirit) before God and allowing him to reveal the outcome to us step by step. It is much better to be in step with God than to be pushing against him each step we take.
And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, "Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a business and make a lot of money." You don't know the first thing about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, "If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that." As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil. (James 4:13-17)
At best, our plans are imperfect - we cannot exclude God and expect for things to run smoothly. James tells us that we really don't know a thing about what tomorrow holds. We see this evidenced in our lives so often. We go along, sailing right through life without really too many cares, then all of a sudden, life bursts on the scene and there we are! Right in the midst of a calamity! His advice to us is simple - make it a habit to ask God to show us his will - keeping us from our futile attempts to live life apart from him.
As James wraps up this chapter, he reminds us that there is importance in doing what is right. In fact, he tells us plainly that to know the right thing to do and then to not do it is just plain evil. To live this way is what some may come hypocrisy - saying one thing, then doing another. We go through life attempting to imitate what should be a reality in our lives. Imitators can easily be exposed - the attitudes of heart are apparent no matter how well we think we conceal them. Imitators don't produce what we'd call "lasting results". We don't have to be imitators (mask wearers) - God wants us to be real, embracing the teaching/learning of the moment and allowing that to affect who we actually are deep within.
One thing I have learned is that when we step out in obedience, God brings things together in the end. God cares about what we go through as much as he cares about how we go through it. The power of our walk comes in the consistency of our prayer. We may not hold our destiny in our hands, but we do hold a very important key to it - our attitude, our words, and our actions all determine the course of our lives. If our attitude is one of obedient surrender to an all-knowing God, and our words are those that honor and uplift from a sincere heart, then our actions will be those that line up with God's Word. Faith without work is not really faith! Let your faith shine today!