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Do It

Dear Friends,

This morning I was going through my daily Bible reading when one of the passages jumped out at me. It was James 4:17 - which says, “Remember, it's a sin to know what you ought to do, and then not do it.” This verse has been a challenge for me over the years, because it takes how Christians often think, and turns it upside down.

Here’s what I mean: as Christians, we can spend a lot of our time focused on what we shouldn't be doing. So we focus on the list of “Thou Shalt Nots” that God gives us, and then that list alone becomes our guide for living the Christian life. But what James reminds us is that our walk with God needs to be more than a list of things NOT to do. So yes, we need to stay away from specific activities that God has told us are sins. But at the same time, we need to be actively doing other things - proactive things God wants us to be doing to build His Kingdom.

I think Jesus gives us the perfect example of what this looks like. When He came to this earth, He spent very little time teaching against the “sins of the flesh” that we spend so much time focusing on. Instead, as we look at the life and teachings of Jesus, we find that a majority of His ministry was about grace and mercy toward sinners. It was about actively carrying the gospel message to the people that most of the “religious folks” were passing right by, because their only focus was keeping the Law. Jesus did things differently. He kept the law, but He also actively worked to carry the full message of God's love to those in need.

So it was Jesus who was criticized for eating and drinking with the tax collectors. It was Jesus who was hated because He hung out with lepers and outcasts. It was Jesus who sat down with women who had bad reputations and showed them that somebody truly cared about them. And it was Jesus who was reaching out to the sick, the diseased, and the desperate in His world. Jesus did all of these proactive things while keeping Himself away from the sins of the flesh. And in doing so, He showed us that the Christian life is not just about staying away from sin - it’s also about actively reaching out and doing what Jesus would have done.

So today, let's commit to staying away from sin - but at the same time, let's commit to doing what we know we should do. Let’s ask God to give us opportunities to actively carry His message of forgiveness and hope and freedom and love to those around us. And as those opportunities come up, let's step up to the plate, and actively “do” what we God wants us to do.




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