“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” James 4:17 (NLT)
Many believe that being a Christian is about what we don’t do compared to what we were created to do. You know, we don’t smoke, swear, look at porn, get drunk, etc. The problem is we are trying to play the wrong game and identify with the wrong team. We think that by only watching from the sidelines as others participate in sin, we are living out God’s calling for our lives. But Jesus looks at Christianity very differently. We are not sinners choosing to sit out of the “game of sin,” but saints, rescued from sin and called to play for Jesus in a game where staying away from sin is not our goal, but instead, actively loving and serving Jesus and others is.
Jesus very rarely spoke in “Do not’s." Much of His teaching focused on our purpose and calling - Love God and Love Neighbor (Luke 10:27). When Jesus talked about Judgement Day, He said this, “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me’” (Matthew 25:41-43). Take careful notice that Jesus judged those who fell short of heaven by what they knew to do and didn’t. He judged them based on failing to do good toward neighbor. They knew they should have helped, been kind and sacrificial for the benefit of others, but they chose self and complacency instead. These are condemnable by Jesus, and is why James says, “…it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”
We think following Jesus is all about abstaining, and that has its place, but following Jesus is a lifestyle of action. It Is choosing to serve and love God by serving and loving others. Every morning God has provided you with 86,400 seconds of time, which represents 1,440 minutes, which equals twenty-four hours each day. Ask God to give you the strength to be active in your faith, playing in the game of serving, sacrificing, giving, loving, encouraging, and so much more - all for Jesus! It’s a game He wants you to play. Get in the game!