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.
James 4:13-17 (ESV)
The providence of God is a wonderful thing. Knowing God is control of all situations gives us confidence in two ways. First, we can trust in the promises of God. When we read a passages such as Ephesians 1, we can stand firm in the knowledge that God will never lose control and all that is written there is true. Second, when we pray, we don't pray to a God who is unable to do all that we ask. He is in control and if He wills it, nothing can stop it.
James is addressing those who think they are in control of their own lives. They make plans for the future giving no thought to what God's will might be. They don't realized that God is in control and even the best laid plans often fail.
Our lives are like the mist. We live for such a short time, yet we think so highly of our own importance. We scheme and scramble about looking to fulfill our own desires, while neglecting the things God would have us embrace. In doing so, we have neglected true faith in the one who controls all things and have instead placed our faith upon our own abilities.
James doesn't condemn planning, but says we should rather say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." This is how our Lord taught us to pray as well. The time we have and the gifts God has given us are for His purposes. It is our duty to seek out God's will and understand His charge for us.
Yet we do not do this, and we become arrogant instead. We come up with our own plans and say "Our will be done." We sinfully put ourselves in the place of our creator. Even today we need a savior to rescue us from this selfishness.
Jesus is that savior. He did not seek out His own will, but became a servant to the Father. Jesus did not seek a profit, but sought to glorify His Father in heaven. He knew His life would be short and taken from Him, so He went about His Father's business. He did not boast in His own ability, but kept quiet while being tortured and killed.
This is the type of savior we need. Jesus is the only one who can truly obey James' words. Trust in Jesus today for the forgiveness of your sins. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your boastful arrogance. His blood was shed to cleanse you of all your sin. Repent and believe this good news. Then you will know what God's good and pleasing will truly is.