“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14
Many times, when we hear the word appearance, our minds immediately go to the physical. Men and women everywhere are greatly concerned with their physical appearance. Experts have estimated that the average woman will spend $225,000 in her lifetime on her physical appearance, and the average man will spend $175,000 in his lifetime!
God is not speaking of our physical appearance in this verse. He uses the word “appeareth” in James 4:14 in a way that is connected to time. The Lord says we are only making a short appearance on this earth. We will appear for a little while and then our physical beings will vanish away. So how can you make the most of your appearance on this earth? It’s a short one. The Bible says it is like a vapor. You can’t put your hand on it, you can’t grasp it, you can’t get a hold of it. It is so brief. It is just a moment. How do we make the most of this moment?
1. Delight in the Lord
We can make the most of our appearing by delighting in the Lord. This is not simply knowing the Lord, but delighting in Him. Many times we get so worked up about certain people and what they’ve done that it throws us off course. We are no longer delighting in the Lord when we do this. In Psalm 37:1-2, the Bible says, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” When we worry about the actions of others at the expense of delighting in the Lord, God calls this foolishness! Don’t allow a negative circumstance to make such an impact on your life.
In verse four of the same chapter, the Bible says, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” You can know the Lord without delighting in Him. Real obedience is delighting in what the Lord has given you to do. God wants His children to get to a point in their lives where they delight in Him. In this verse, we learn that God is the only one who can connect our desires and doings. Wouldn’t you like to know what God created you for? If you learn to delight in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. You will be happy with God’s choices, but you will not know His design if you do not delight in the Lord.
2. Discover what God has given you
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” Psalm 68:19
We all have a habit of complaining about what we do not have, but if we are going to make the most of our appearance, we must learn to discover all that God has given us. Think about how God gave you just the right friends, the right spouse, the right son or daughter. Think of how He has placed you exactly where you are at a particular time for a specific reason. People who gripe and complain about their life never make the most of their life. They think if something would just change, then they would be happy. But the truth is, the thing that needs to change is their heart. Have you discovered what God has given you? Are you griping about it? You are only going to be a here a little while. Do not allow yourself to gripe so much that it becomes a way of living.
In this upcoming year, discover all the blessings that God has already given you.
3. Learn to Live on a Daily Basis
God gives strength and grace for each day. If you keep on carrying baggage from days gone by, you are going to be in a big mess. My favorite verse for this is Matthew 6:34, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” There’s enough to deal with each day that you don’t need to borrow trouble from the past or even from tomorrow. To make the most of our appearance on this earth, we must learn to live on a daily basis. In 1 Peter 3:10-11, the Lord gives us some things we can do on a daily basis to make the most of our appearing. If you want to “love life” and “see good days”, you cannot do it without doing these things presented to us in 1 Peter 3:10-11:
- Refrain your tongue from evil – You can mess up a party, a birthday, Christmas, a celebration, just with your tongue. It is an unruly evil set on fire of hell. We must learn to restrain our tongue from evil if we want to “see good days” during our appearing.
- Speak no guile – Be exact, be clear, and do not stretch the truth. God says this is connected to whether or not you will have a good day.
- Eschew evil – Eschew is an old English word that means to “withdraw your foot”. If you see something going in the wrong direction, pull your foot out of it. Get out of it – it’s not for you.
- Do good, seek peace and ensue it – There is no neutral ground here. Go after peace and don’t let it escape you. Do not be the person to cause divisiveness and trouble. These are the things God has laid out for us in His Word.
I want to make the right appearance. We have so little time to do so. Our Lord Jesus is coming soon! In this coming year, let us make the most of our time in light of eternity.