(The following is the November 6 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read James 4 and pay close attention to verse 17.)
When we think about sin, we probably think most often of things we do that we should not. Many sins fall into this category since the Bible identifies numerous behaviors prohibited by God. These are sins of commission – acts we commit contrary to God’s will.
Another category of sins we may not ponder as often is sins of omission. These are sins we are guilty of because of not doing something we should do. Looking at the Ten Commandments, most are sins of commission, but two are things we should do: remember the Sabbath day to make it holy and honor your father and your mother. The remainder of the Bible contains a host of additional positively stated commands and expectations for how God’s people should live.
It's easy to focus on sins to avoid. “God, help me stop doing _____.” “God, forgive me for what I did yesterday when I _____.” We must confess and address such sins, but we shouldn’t stop there. We need to think beyond those to the sins of omission. That may require more thought and reflection. What opportunities did we pass up? What thoughts came to mind about loving others, doing good, or honoring Christ that we failed to carry out? James wrote, “So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it” (v. 17).
Christians aren’t meant to focus on our sins constantly. We should have a glorious, vital relationship with our living Lord that includes a healthy awareness of sin and proper confession and repentance. Pondering sins of omission can open our eyes to opportunities we may have missed to be better disciples of Christ and ambassadors for him.
Review how you spent your time over the last few days. Were there missed opportunities to serve Christ or love others better? What positive action can you take for someone soon?