16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
Certain kinds of rejoicing are sinful. James here particularly warns us against rejoicing in our boastings. Being happy and confident about tomorrow is a common desire of man. Whenever man feels good about his future, he tends to rejoice and even boast about it. Man rejoices to brag about his success. Such rejoicing, says the apostle James, is evil. It is foolish and hurtful.
The root problem of such rejoicing is pride. Boasting about one’s own plan, ability and confidence is not only a vain thing, but also an abominable and blasphemous act that steals the glory of God who graciously provides man with health, opportunity and success. Only God knows everything about tomorrow, and is therefore in control of tomorrow. When a man is inflated with self-confidence, he openly sets himself as superior to God. Such rejoicing that disregards God and His will is foul and disgraceful behaviour.
If one rejoices in his own vain confidence, he will become presumptuous about tomorrow. James has already warned against such arrogant boasting. He said, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 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. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:13-15).
Rejoicing in one’s self will also deprive one of faith in and submission to the Lord. So, everyone is exhorted: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Selfbelief leads a man to walk irreverently and contemptuously. Such a person will disregard the Lord’s purposes and precepts, and will act in self-conceit.
Truly, Scripture continually warns us against delighting in our own abilities. Consider these divine warnings against vain confidence in oneself. Jeremiah 9:23 declares, “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches”. In Proverbs 3:7, we are cautioned: “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” So, let us take heed and refrain from all forms of self-glorying.