Many people think they are free from sin if they make a sincere faith effort to keep from doing things they know are displeasing to the Lord. The problem with this type of thinking is it turns the Christian life into a “to do list,” whereby we spend our days trying to avoid the pitfalls that present themselves in life. However, there is more to a right relationship with God than simply refraining from known sin.
Though God has given us clear guidelines as to the best way to conduct ourselves to live a fruitful, blessed life that honours Him, God has given us the free will to choose the things we will allow into our hearts and lives as well as those that we want to avoid. Free will can feel like both a blessing and a curse as sometimes it becomes difficult to determine the best path for us to take. The devil makes sin look very attractive, and often pretties up the path to destruction in an attempt to make it look less dangerous, making us doubt God’s commands for us and question if that road really leads to our peril.
The Bible adds another layer of responsibility through this verse found in James 4:17:
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
We spend much time focusing on things that we shouldn’t be doing. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that there are things that we SHOULD actively be seeking, and failure to fulfill these roles in our lives is also sin. The dilemma we often encounter is the fact that many of the things we are commanded to do are hard for us, so we prefer to relegate them to a distant corner of our minds, rationalizing that if we devote ourselves to obeying the “Thou shalt not’s” that somehow God will overlook our unwillingness to comply with the “Thou shalt’s.” Yet some of the most important commands in Scripture are not things we should not do, they are things that we know in our hearts that are right, and that deserve our attention and commitment.
It is not easy to love our neighbour as ourselves; to place his good and needs above our own. But the Bible tells us this is our God-given role. We are to die to self and to deliberately seek opportunities to serve others. Failure to follow this important commandment is sin.
We cannot claim ignorance as a reason for not following through on clear Bible teachings. If we have been made aware of something, we then have a responsibility to act on it. Anything less than that is sin. It is not enough to choose not to lie because we are commanded to not bear false witness. To please God, we must also be committed to speaking the truth. It is not enough to refrain from doing things that would blemish the name of Christ; we must also seek opportunities to share what He has done for us and to live a life that brings honour to His holy name and draws people to Him. God has clearly outlined the good things we are to be doing; a decision not to do them is sin.
In Ephesians 5:18-21, Paul asserts the following truths:
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
When our hearts are filled with the Spirit of God, we have the strength that we need to resist the temptation to yield to that which is displeasing to God and to reach towards those things that bring glory to His name. In our own flesh, we lack the power to make good choices, but with the Holy Spirit empowering and guiding us, we are then able to focus on living a life that is well-pleasing to our Lord. The key to knowing what is good and doing it lies in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
Are you struggling to “do good”? Anchor of Hope Ministry can help. Contact us now at (306) 940-9554 to learn more about how Jesus can empower you to live for Him.