Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. James 4:17 (NIV)
Know It All
What do you know? What do I know about what? What do you know about doing good? I know that I am not a very good judge of knowing what good I should go and do. Why do you say that? Well, first of all, it was you who said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing”. Yes, I did say that. When I have dreamed up my own plans and gone and did what I wanted to do, my efforts have accomplished nothing of lasting and eternal value. So, I have experienced the truth of what you have said. That’s why I would say that I am not a good judge of knowing the good that I should go and do. In fact, thinking that I “know it all” has often caused me to fail to do what you have asked me to do for you. In the busyness of my own efforts I have not stopped to listen to your directions. I have not received your guidance. I have not followed your instructions. Instead, I have failed to do what I knew I should have gone and done and I have also done what I should not have gone and done. What does that sound like to you? You mean not doing what I should and doing what I should not? Yes, what does that sound like to you? It sounds to me like a pretty good definition of sin. That’s right.
What lies just behind not doing what you should and doing what you should not? I’m not sure what you mean. What motivates or guides your desire to not do what you should and doing what you should not? I think I know where you are headed with your question. You do? Yes, is there a greater sin than not doing what I should and doing what I should not? You could think of where we are headed in that way. What would you call a greater sin or the sin that motivates every sin? Pride seems like the greater sin. Pride is the sin that seems to motivate all sin. How so? Pride would try to tell me that I don’t need to listen to your directions, receive your guidance or follow your instructions. Pride would try to tell me that I don’t need you to guide my life. Pride would try to have me say that I can go and do what I want, when and where I want. Pride would reject the idea that there is nothing I should or shouldn’t do. Pride would try to place me in charge of deciding what is right and what is wrong. Pride would try to have me on a path walking away from you. That’s true.
I started by asking you, “what do you know?” Now, I will continue by asking you, “what do you want?” I will start by telling you what I don’t want. I don’t want to live a pride filled life that leads me away from you. I want to live humbly before you so that I will listen to your directions, receive your guidance and follow your instructions. I want to do all that you ask of me. I will rely on you to help me to know and do your will. That will be very good.
Lord, often times, I have dreamed up my own plans and goals without asking for your guidance. I have not relied on your help. I have done what I should not have done. I have not done what I should have done. Forgive me. Help me to know and do your will. Amen
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