James 4:14 – Life is Vapor

14 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.


So, how does James correct this bad doctrine? Where does he start?

This is where he starts… He wants to make sure that his readers know that life without God is nothing but vapor. In essence, apart from Christ, our lives are short and we quickly pass away. James is basically giving them a picture of what every human life is like. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 90:10, “The length of our days is seventy years – or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”

I’m reminded of the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. This song is a perfect document for us to understand what James is saying here in verse 14. One verse says, “Don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky. It slips away, all your money won’t another minute buy.”

If we are going to act like atheists when we plan for the future and talk about the future, even if it is one day in advance, James wants us to know that our lives are meaningless and short and that all our words and money will not buy us one more second. We have no guarantee of tomorrow!

Why does he do this?… Because he means to humble us when he rhetorically asks, “What is your life?!”

So, if that’s all life is then why do we even try? Well, this is where the Kansas song fell short and where the Gospel comes into play. James doesn’t stop there with his rebuke of these merchants’ doctrine. Instead, James gives them a clear alternative in order to correct their doctrine…The Gospel.

More to come later…

In Christ and In Defense of the Faith,