Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 17, 2017
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17
The sin of not doing anything or the sin of omission may be more dangerous than the sin of commission. Why, you may ask. The sin of not doing anything can remain hidden in my heart without anyone else knowing about my disobedience. My heavenly Father of course knows, but somehow I dismiss this and blindly justify my sin’s concealment. For example, when I fail to forgive, it may seem like an innocent indiscretion, but on the inside my hurting heart continues to fuel my anger. Most importantly my failure to forgive disrupts God’s forgiveness of my sin and alienates me from Christ. “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15). The sin of doing nothing calls my heart to do something, now!
Here are five sins of neglect that require us to step up, step out and do something:
1. Neglect of Family, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).
What does my family need from me that only I can provide? It could be as simple as reading a book at bedtime with open hearts and tender prayers, or as complex as remaining faithful in my current job even though it is hard and unfulfilling. Our family needs to see us persevere through trials while trusting the Lord in the process. Maybe we need to take a second job for a season so we can pay off debt and pay cash for current needs. The best gift we can give our relatives and immediate family is a life of love sustained by God’s grace and fueled by Holy Spirit power!
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
2. Neglect of Community with Other Followers of Jesus, “Not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching” (Hebrews 10:25, AMP).
A bible believing church is Christ’s chosen method to draw new converts into faith and older Christians into a deeper faith in Him. Corporate worship with our unified expression of heartfelt praise reminds us of our loving Savior and Lord, while flushing fear from our minds and filling our thoughts with truth. We give each other courage to continue on in the faith when we come together to confess our sins and celebrate our forgiveness. When we do not neglect living out our faith in community, we are able to grow authentic relationships and serve others unselfishly.
“They were continually and faithfully devoting themselves to the instruction of the apostles, and to fellowship, to eating meals together and to prayers” (Acts 2:42, AMP).
3. Neglect of Giving to God, “Will someone steal from God?” Yet you are always stealing from Me! But you self-centered people still ask, “How have we stolen from You?” In the tithes and the offerings you have not given Me as the law requires” (Malachi 3:8, The Voice).
Our Heavenly Father owns all we possess and allows us to be the faithful managers of His resources. Just as an excellent employee meets regularly with their supervisor to review their expectations and discuss plans, so we systematically engage the Lord in prayer and His word to grasp His heart regarding how to save, spend and share His time, money and stuff. I rob God if I fail to give to my tithes and offerings to my church and to the causes Christ has called me to support. A generous life prays every day for opportunities to give in a way that points glad recipients to God.
“The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown]” (Proverbs 11:25, AMP).
4. Neglect of Helping Others in Need, “Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense” (James 2:15-17, MSG).
Similar to the young boy who gave his fish and bread for Jesus to break, bless and multiply—so we give what we have to God for Him to use for His purposes. When we dedicate our time, money and expertise to Christ, He is able to spread our influence far and wide to further His Kingdom and meet the practical needs of food, clothing, shelter, and medicine for those who are less fortunate in the necessities of this life. Faith in action is authentic faith, while inactive faith is a cheap imitation. Perhaps we need to talk less of how good we feel and do more good deeds.
“But whoever has the world’s goods (adequate resources), and sees his brother in need, but has no compassion for him, how does the love of God live in him? Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words]” (1 John 3:17-18, AMP).
5. Neglect of Prayer, As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23).
Other centered prayer keeps me concerned for the welfare of others and not consumed with my own worries. When I pray for a close friend or family member’s body to heal and grow stronger, I tend to text them comforting scripture or leave them a reassuring voicemail. When I petition my heavenly Father on behalf of a needy soul, I am more likely to pen words of encouragement to them in a handwritten note. My affections follow fast after my humble and earnest prayers. People who feel prayed for have Christ’s confidence and hope to carry on with a fortified faith. “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2).
PrayerHeavenly Father, show me what to do and give me the courage to follow through.
ApplicationWhat is the Lord telling me to do now, that I have thought about for a long time?
Related ReadingEsther 4:14; Galatians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; James 2:20
Post/Tweet todaySins of neglect require us to step up, step out and do something. #generosity #dosomething
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