James 4:14 NKJV
whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
We have the law of God, which is a rule to all; let us not presume to set up our own notions and opinions as a rule to those about us, and let us be careful that we are not condemned of the Lord “Go to now,” is a call to anyone to consider his conduct as being wrong.
How apt worldly and contriving men are to leave God out of their plans! How vain it is to look for anything good without God’s blessing and guidance! The frailty, shortness, and uncertainty of life ought to check the vanity and presumptuous confidence of all projects for the future.
Dying is done but once, and therefore it had need to be well done. An error here is past retrieve.
Other clouds arise, but the same cloud never returns: so a new generation of men is raised up, but the former generation vanishes away. Glorified saints shall return no more to the cares and sorrows of their houses, nor condemned sinners to the gaieties and pleasures of their houses. It concerns us to secure a better place when we die. For these reasons Job might have drawn a better conclusion than this, I will complain.
When we have but a few breaths to draw, we should spend them in the holy, gracious breaths of faith and prayer; not in the noisome, noxious breathings of sin and corruption. We have much reason to pray, that He who keeps Israel, and neither slumbers nor sleeps, may keep us when we slumber and sleep. Job covets to rest in his grave. Doubtless, this was his infirmity; for though a good man would choose death rather than sin, yet he should be content to live as long as God pleases because life is our opportunity of glorifying him and preparing for heaven.
Even good men may be almost overwhelmed with afflictions. It is our duty and interest to pray; and it is a comfort to an afflicted spirit to unburden itself, by a humble representation of its griefs. We must say, Blessed be the name of the Lord, who both gives and takes away. The psalmist looked upon himself as a dying man; My days are like a shadow.
Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it.
Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God’s faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness.
The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man’s redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so.
The things of the world may be desired and possessed for the uses and purposes which God intended, and they are to be used by his grace, and to his glory, but believers must not seek or value them for those purposes to which sin abuses them. The world draws the heart from God; and the more the love of the world prevails, the more the love of God decays.
The things of the world are classed according to the three ruling inclinations of depraved nature
1. The lust of the flesh, of the body: wrong desires of the heart, the appetite of indulging all things that excite and inflame sensual pleasures 2. The lust of the eyes: the eyes are delighted with riches and rich possessions; this is the lust of covetousness
3. The pride of life: a vain man craves the grandeur and pomp of a vain-glorious life; this includes thirst after honour and applause.
The things of the world quickly fade and die away; desire itself will ere long fail and cease, but holy affection is not like the lust that passes away. The love of God shall never fail. Many vain efforts have been made to evade the force of this passage by limitations, distinctions, or exceptions. Many have tried to show how far we may be carnally-minded, and love the world; but the plain meaning of these verses cannot easily be mistaken. Unless this victory over the world is begun in the heart, a man has no root in himself, but will fall away, or at most remain an unfruitful professor. Yet these vanities are so alluring to the corruption in our hearts, that without constant watching and prayer, we cannot escape the world, or obtain victory over the god and prince of it.
Matthew 7:14 NKJV
Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.