To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is a sin. This is how James closes chapter 4. To me this is talking about the sin of omission, or the sin of not doing what we are supposed to be doing. Such as not going home teaching or visiting teaching. Sins of omission can be just as bad as sins of commission. We will all have to stand before God and give an accounting of our lives one day and we will feel extremely self conscious when Heavenly Father asks us why we did not do certain things that He had asked us to do. When we have to justify to Him our lives and our actions. It will not be pleasant indeed.
That is all I will say on that matter, but I wanted to touch on it because all too often I think we as Latter-day Saints, and even just Christians think we are doing very well but when we truly look at ourselves, there is more we could be doing. We are not perfect and we do not live all the commandments perfectly. But I wanted to focus the majority of today on the rest of chapter 4 and what James is talking about. He states that friendship with the world creates enmity with God. I can see what he is referring to in that the world and God are almost always at odds with each other.
The world is controlled by the devil, both directly and indirectly. I firmly believe that many people that are in positions of power do things that are wrong knowingly and it doesn't matter to them so long as they stay in power. They are ruthless and don't care who they hurt. They knowingly trample under their feet the commandments of God. Such people sicken me. There are also those evil people who will do anything and everything in their power to get money. These are people that are directly controlled by the devil. As surely as if he were perched on their shoulder, whispering in their ear, like the old cartoons show, he guides them and directs them from one piece of iniquity to another. It is sad to see and will cause the Spirit to flee.
There are also those who are indirectly controlled by the devil. These are those who are generally good people but perhaps they cheat on their taxes. Or they take advantage of those who are down on their luck. When they are given too much change back from a transaction, they keep it. Anytime we make a choice other than the one the Savior would make, we are letting the devil control us. And when we do little sins now and again, it makes us just that much farther away from where Heavenly Father is. It's kind of like walking up a staircase, we go up two steps but down one. We then go up three steps, but down four. We are always headed in the right direction eventually, but we allow ourselves to slip backwards.
This happens when we become to familiar with the world, or indulge in friendship with them as James puts it. If we truly want to become like God is, we need to not be friends with the world. I like to think of it as ancient Israel. They were always getting into trouble because they wanted to do things the way the world did them. For example they did just fine with judges but they badgered the prophets to let them have a king just like everyone else. It got them into trouble. They would start to worship idols because that's what everyone else was doing. Anytime they focused on what the world was doing, it got them into trouble. So it is with us. If we focus on doing what God wants us to do, we will be fine. But the minute we focus on doing things the world's way, we will find ourselves in trouble and out of the good graces of God. None of us want that. Choose friendship with the Lord instead. You won't be sorry. Until tomorrow.