Your Will Be Done
Verse 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
Yesterday we were talking about being in God’s will or living in our own will. But does it really matter if we don’t live totally in God’s will all the time?
James drops a truth bomb on his readers in our key verse today. It isn’t a truth that they didn’t know before this letter. It is something that they would have been taught since they were children as every Jewish child was. Even though it was taught that didn’t mean it was something that was thought about or observed throughout the history of the Jewish people. There were times in their history when the people walked away from God’s will so blatantly that God allowed them to be exiled.
Exiling wasn’t enough to keep future generations from seeking their own will over God’s will and that continued through the time of Jesus. There had been prophets that had told what was going to happen and what the people could expect if they didn’t obey God as He had commanded them to. Then God had gone quiet for centuries. There had been no prophets sent to try to get the people to repent. Then God broke His silence and sends John the Baptist and a few months later Jesus comes into the world. This is the world that James grew up in.
James had been born to a man and woman who had decided to obey the will of God even though it meant tough times and even running for the life of baby Jesus. James had likely seen many examples in Joseph and Mary’s lives that helped him understand the importance of living according to God’s will. Remember that James had also watched Jesus live out God’s will at every point in His life.
The fact that James thought his readers needed to once again remember the need to be seeking God’s will, shows that they weren’t living according to His will. They were scattered among the nations. This wasn’t because of their walking away from God but was instead because they believed that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. The reason his readers needed to live according to God’s will is the same reason we need to live in light of His will. James’ truth bomb is another reminder of our need for holiness. Knowing His will and not doing it is the ageless sin. But its agelessness doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious sin.
Making It Personal
When is a time that you knew God’s will and didn’t do it? Did you find as much joy in your decision as you thought you would? What is a choice you need to make right now that would reflect living according to God’s will?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it mean to live according to God’s will? Why is not living according to His will a sin? Is there something that Jesus says you should do that you haven’t been doing?
Father, we know it is a sin to know Your will and not do it and yet we still fail at obeying You. Forgive us this sin and help us learn to obey more readily. In Jesus’ name, amen.