The Little Sins
Updated: Feb 12
Saturday - January 30th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 2:1-13
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles
at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
Over the years, I have used one particular visual to illustrate how even one act of sin taints us with complete impurity before a holy God. I take three bottles of water. Two are unsealed and look perfectly pure. One is disgustingly and obviously dirty. I go into detail as to what is in the dirty bottle. It isn't pretty and includes some nasty stuff.
I take the second bottle and unseal it. At that point, I emphasize how pure the water is. I ask who would drink from the bottle I just opened. The vast majority of people raise their hands. Then, I take my pinky finger and dramatically put it in my ear and dig around deep in my ear a bit. That is the part that audiences don't particularly enjoy - but grabs their attention.
With the freshly opened bottle in one hand, I then put my pinky as deep in the water bottle as I can. The goal is to swish my pinky around in the water as much as possible. The crowd or congregation tends to make various groaning sounds demonstrating their disgust. Then I ask who would drink from that bottle now. Aside from a few class clowns in the crowd, no one wants to drink from it. I ask, "Why?"
The bottle, obviously full of nasty dirt, is something you don't want to drink. But, the bottle contaminated by my pinky looks as good as the unopened bottle. I then drive home my point about a little impurity in our lives and how that compares to the holiness of God. Even a small amount of unnoticeable contaminants make the pure bottle of water entirely undrinkable and impure. So, one speck of sin makes us fall completely short of the holiness of God.
James makes that same point in James 2:10. If we violate God's law in one aspect, we are just as guilty before God as if we broke all of His holy standards for us. In James chapter two, James emphasizes that when we fail to love someone in our lives or choose to love the rich and influential and not others, we sin, and that sin is significant.
We need to take our sin seriously. To walk with Jesus means to see each sin as significant, confess it, forsake it, and move forward in obedience to our God. While various sins do result in different degrees of consequences in our lives and relationships, we cannot minimize "the little sins" we commit. They may not have dire consequences, but they do affect our relationship with God and have an impact on our lives and our testimony for Christ!
There are no little sins before God. Violating any law of God is just as serious as violating every law of God.