Listen to today’s devo!

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17)

Expanded Passage: James 4:11-17

A corporate lawyer has developed a sizable following on social media. Her viral videos have made her a top influencer. She is seen as an expert on legal topics and is well respected by her followers and the media. The scribes and Pharisees were also experts in the law, and Jesus told his followers to respect them, but did not encourage us to emulate them because they didn’t practice what they preached. They were the Jewish world’s social media stars, showing off for the cameras. In their hearts, they were prideful.

Knowing the law is insufficient. Learning all the rules so that we look like good Christians is not the goal. Performative followers get their rewards in likes and shares right now, but their boasting is bad (4:16). There were 613 Jewish commandments (mitzvot) that the Pharisees required others to follow. James knew the good that we ought to do was to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).

If we are just, merciful, and humbly walk with God, the 613 rules for faithful living become somewhat automatic. We’ll honor the old and the wise, say grace, give to those in need, conduct fair business, be faithful in marriage, and comply with the 608 other mitzvot if we just do the good we ought to do.

Do good as you humbly walk with God.

Priscilla Hammond is an ordained pastor and associate professor in the Benson School of Business at Southern Wesleyan University (SC).

© 2024 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.