Saturday, August 1, 2020 -
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
When James gives us these sobering words, he provides no excuses. Erwin Raphael McManus in his book, Chasing Daylight, stresses that “we have put so much emphasis on avoiding evil that we have become virtually blind to the endless opportunities for doing good. We have defined holiness through what we separate ourselves from rather than what we give ourselves to. I am convinced the great tragedy is not the sins that we commit, but the life that we fail to live.” This I’ve always been convinced of, but never really dawned on me that “there is a tragic reality that many times the very things that God blesses us with become obstacles to seizing divine moments . . . Those who hold the authority and resources of the kingdom are all too often more motivated to make sure they do not lose them rather than to make sure they are used properly.” This refers to those in Christian leadership in the West who hold “so tightly to what they had that they could not open their hands to receive what was to come.
“The greatest danger that success brings, aside from arrogance, is the fear of losing what has been gained. The courage and willingness to risk that breed success are endangered after success is obtained. In the end, these very institutions are the ones that have an adversarial relationship with urgency and risk. Urgency is characterized as impetuousness, while risk management is defined not as taking the right risk but avoiding risk altogether.
“This can also be true about how we live our lives on a personal basis. The more you move with God-given urgency, the more God seems to bless your life. The more God blesses your life, the more you have to lose. The more you have to lose, the more you have to risk. The more you have to risk, the higher the price of following God. In some twisted way, God’s blessings to us can become our greatest hindrances to seizing divine moments.”
So we must be careful God’s blessings don’t become “like an anchor around our ankles.” McManus says, “many of us face a new poverty. We are not living on the streets, but we are stuck in a rut. We are in danger of gaining the whole world but losing our souls. What we have received from God has taken preeminence over the God who has received us. His gifts are for us to enjoy, but not for us to worship. If what He has given us now stands between us, we must again lay it at His feet. No matter how rich we become, we must always remain poor.”
And so, we must always choose to do the right things, making the right choices, taking risks for God. McManus calls this passion that God infuses. “The challenges you are willing to face will rise in proportion to the character you are willing to develop. With the depth of godly character comes an intensity of godly passion. It is in this process of transformation that we find the fuel to engage with confidence the opportunities placed before us.” Perhaps, when it comes to being good you should “throw caution to the wind and follow God wherever He leads you.”