James 4 closes with these words: “To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not to him it is sin” (v. 17). When we see people live in sin, we may wonder why they are doing that to themselves. Can they not see what they are doing to their lives?
Notice the self-condemnation in James 4:17. Why would anyone condemn himself this way? Ungodly behavior is not the only thing that condemns. Failure to act according to what God wants us to do will cause us to face punishment just the same. More people talk about what they “ought to do” or “ought to be” than will discuss the sin in which they participate.
What consolation is there if your life is only described by these words: “He didn’t do it,” “He never did anything wrong,” “He never hurt anyone,” or “She never said a bad word about anybody”? Harmless and blameless should characterize a Christian’s life, but God wants us to be useful, not useless. Be innocent but be a follower of what is good.
The one talent man (Matthew 25:14-30). did not hurt anybody. He was not a murderer or child molester. However, he failed to use what he did have. Do you ever wonder if the words of our prayer, “Help us Lord to apply what we have heard to our daily walk of life” is vain repetition or utterances of a diligent servant? Friend, our guilt is ever increased if we fail to practice what we clearly know to do.