Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
James 4:17 (New Living Translation)
James concludes this chapter by issuing us with a stern warning. He doesn’t get any more explicit than this – he reminds us that it is a sin to know the good that we ought to do and yet not do it. This to me is a near-impossible standard to uphold. God gives us the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, which tells us the things we mustn’t do – kill, covet, steal, lie, etc; whereas Jesus tells us what we must do in the New Testament – to love God and our neighbour. A violation of either renders us sinful; it’s virtually impossible to acquit yourself of blame when the stakes are so high.
I propose that there are three things we can do with the life that God has given to us to steward. The good news is, these choices are ours to make. We can either spend it, keep it or invest it.
- Hedonistic – You can choose to spend it on your pleasures and make your life all about pursuing your goals and dreams. In other words, this life is all about you. I think we are most susceptible to this way of life.
- Egotistic – Or, you can keep it for yourself and be selfish, self-centred, and live like a hermit, as if no one owes you anything and you owe nothing to anyone. You inevitably become greedy, mercenary and inconsiderate. I think we unknowingly choose this way of life.
- Altruistic – Or (and I pray this you’d choose this!), you can invest it in the things of God and in His people, knowing that one day, God Himself will give you great returns – some of it on earth and most of it in heaven. Life is fast and it will soon past; only what is done for Christ will last.
Think about it for a little while – if everyone in this youth group invested their lives in the good that they ought to do, imagine what we would be capable of accomplishing for God! If the local church comes together, unified in one vision to bear fruit, I truly believe that we will be world-changers, history-makers and life-shapers! There’s so much power in the potential of us doing good unto all men.
So my question then to all of us is – What exactly is the good that we ought to do?
When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He gave us the Holy Spirit and left us with the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. These aren’t great suggestions but great instructions for all of us to carry out. The former tells us to love God and His people. The latter tells us to go out and touch and impact lives for Jesus. I don’t know about you, but if you call yourself a Christian, then these two great instructions must sound good to you; these are what we must invest our lives in if life is uncertain and death is certain. And to help us along, we can depend on the Holy Spirit; we are not alone at all in doing good for the glory of God. May we learn to involve God in all that we do in this short life for His glory alone!
Many who know me would also know my mantra for life – read above. I would be yellow Chinese trash if not for the grace of God. My life is one that is redeemed by the grace of God and it seemed a natural progression for me to be doing what I am doing right now.
A lot of Christians, myself included of course, have abused the grace of God in our lives. We revisit a sin because we know we’ll be forgiven. We entertain evil because we know God will still love us regardless. And we try to live a life by our standards thinking that it’ll get by God’s. Did we realise that by doing that we have unknowingly flouted one of the Ten Commandments is?
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”
We somehow have a tendency to imagine God as a loving and doting father only. While that is true, it is inadequate. It would be dangerous to forget that God the Father is also God the Judge and the Righteous One who has no dealings with sin and evil. We often exploit the His loving kindness with our unrepentance. Be wary of this – do not fall into the trap of violating that commandment.
The last thing we want to do is to make for ourselves an image of God that is not truly Him. We take what we want from the Bible – usually people only want to hear the good stuff – and we snuff out the rest which doesn’t appeal to us. Are you sure that the God you are worshipping is the God that is written about in the bible? Or is it a figment of your imagination (or more like your fantasyutopialand)? Let’s spend a little time to, by the grace of God, make sure that the God that we are worshipping is really THE God!
RY preached a great sermon today on how much God loves us. He loves us even when we fail to love Him and delights some more in loving us in spite of that! That’s just mind-blowing. It brings agape to another level. For that, I cannot comprehend and I am guilty of how we have hurt God time and again by our actions and inactions. God’s love demonstrated through His grace alone should move us into desiring to hurt Him lesser with our sinful thoughts and deeds.
The grace of God empowers us to do what is righteous; it should not cause us to sin some more, but to sin no more.