Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pure Religion or Willful Refusal to do Good

James 4:17  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

A good biblical example of failure to do right is found in the story of the good Samaritan. You will remember the priest and the Levite who could have helped the mugging victim, but chose to go on their way and not be bothered while the half-breed Samaritan pitched right in and made a change in the afflicted man’s world.

If we are confronted with the opportunity to turn a good deed for a truly needy individual and we know we should roll up our sleeves and jump in to the rescue, but don't, to us, it is sin.

Why would we not do good when we ought to?

*I might choose to conserve my resources.
*I might opt to withhold my mercy and kindness.
*I may decide to turn my back to the need so I am no longer confronted by it.
*I may avoid the issue by passing by on the other side of the street.
*I might use a useless platitude such as, "be ye warmed and filled."
*I might judge the need as unworthy of my attention.
*I might feel an inability to contribute with a good deed.
*I may decide the good deed is outside of my comfort zone.
*I might feel as if I am too busy, I don't need to be bothered, this ministry is not on my list of things to do, it is not a priority.
*I could shrug my shoulders and say, “It is not my gift.”
*I could hope that someone else will deal with it.
*And I may even feel the person in need is not worth my efforts.

Obviously, there are needs on every hand and we cannot take in every stray dog, fund every plea or single-handedly save the world. So, when must I intervene with a good work? If the need passes all 3 of these tests, we must act.

1.     When the need arises and I am confronted with it.
2.     When the Holy Spirit prompts me to make a difference.
3.     When I have the wherewithal to perform a good work.

What might be some of the needs we come across on a daily basis where our inaction might be considered sin?

Ø Lost souls in need of a Savior Who encouraged us with, “Freely ye have received, freely give.”
Ø Suffering people who could use our effectual, fervent prayers.
Ø Missionary efforts with which the Lord would have us to partner.
Ø Poor and needy folks who have fallen on hard times, exposed to us when we have the resources to help. 

We might add that those needs that we cannot meet, or are not prompted by the Spirit to assist with, should be left up to the Lord and we don't have to feel guilty about our inaction. That does not mean that we cannot have compassion and pray about them.

Remember that “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27 

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