Consequences Culture Sin

Doing Good is Not Enough

Security breeches and identity theft have become common. So much that you’re probably not shocked to hear when even more than half a million people are impacted. Well, some time ago, there was a leak at a site called Ashley Madison. That is a service that facilitates what they call “affairs and discreet married dating.

Their company slogan is “Life is short, have an affair.”

The service provided by Ashley Madison combined with their leak rattled the fabric of modern society at many levels.

In case you don’t remember or never heard, this website was hacked and the information of it’s users leaked.

The fallout of this scandal shattered lives. One Pastor committed suicide in what is believed to be part of the aftermath of this mess, having mentioned Ashley Madison in his suicide note.

I’m talking to the Christian here

So the brokenness leading to a “service” such as Ashley Madison is making me think about the Christian life and walking in the light of the Gospel in a fallen world. How do we navigate the events that keep dominating our headlines and destroying lives all around us?

I’ve heard things like “I’m doing good and I do good things, so isn’t that enough?” Anyone who has read my blog knows that I’ve stated “it’s impossible to hold an unbelieving world to the standards and accountability of a believer.”

I believe that. John 1:5 tells us that “the darkness cannot overcome the light.” The word used in that verse is katalamano, which literally translates “apprehended not.” Another way to say that is, “the darkness did not apprehend or snuff out the light.”

Neither can a person who doesn’t have the Spirit of the living God comprehend the things of God. So let this article be an address to the person who claims Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

When doing good is almost enough

We’re not going on about legalism here. “Doing good” doesn’t improve our salvation. What doing good means in the life of a Christian is, as Paul writes in Ephesians 4:1, to “live in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called.”

Every one of us brings into our Christian experience the junk that we carried around, that we lived day in and day out before accepting Christ. Jesus does promise to free us of that sin and trash, and He does just that, but there comes a time in our Christian walk where our faith has got to be made real. “Where the rubber meets the road” as some say.

At that point we not only turn from sin, which takes effort on our part, but we become “renewed in our minds.” Paul writes this in Romans 12:2 where he instructs us, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

Again, “do not be conformed” and “be transformed” take action on our parts requiring discipline, not passivity. These things don’t just happen in our lives. God is calling us to His grace and while there is nothing we can do to attain or improve that grace, we must be disciplined to the renewing of our minds, to our daily thought-life. And that comes through worship and by being bathed in continual prayer and soaked in God’s Word.

Paul finishes that verse with, “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” If we are renewed in our thoughts, our actions follow. And here God tells us that if we are walking renewed, we will be discerning, knowing what is good, acceptable and perfect.

As we walk in this renewed discernment, we begin to respond to those things plaguing the headlines in a different light. We don’t succumb to the temptations or to the horrible headlines, but we respond to them in desperate prayer.

“Doing good” is simply not good enough if we’re not taking those next steps, if we’re not “renewed in our mind.” Author Debra Fileta said it best in her recent article 5 Things We Learn from the Josh Duggar Scandal on her website, True Love Dates.

Refraining from sin isn’t enough if you’re not taking next steps into grace, forgiveness, and building healthy habits.

Decision Time

So there comes a time when the “rubber” of your faith has got to “meet the road.” It’s just not enough to do good. Following Jesus in a fallen, broken and often frightening world takes commitment, action and discipline.

If you claim to follow Jesus then you’re engaged in an ongoing battle for the souls of every man, woman and child on the planet. If you’re not renewed in your mind and daily walking in the habits that build your faith, then doing good will only get you wiped out.

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4 thoughts on “Doing Good is Not Enough

  1. Good reminders for the day in which we live. We as believers MUST be different, transformed, not conformed. Nice post!

  2. It’s definitely scary (and incredibly sad) to realize how many professing Christians were on Ashley Madison. I know a lot of people have spoken of gay “marriage” being the primary assault on marriage today, but it seems to me that the sanctity of marriage has been attacked for years by affairs, needless divorces, and couples who move-in before marriage.

    1. Hannah, I could not agree more. Gay marriage wouldn’t have the impact it’s having in Christian circles if the church had taken a stance decades ago about treating marriage as the covenant that it is.

      What I mean by that is I believe that if the church at large had not performed marriages for people outside of the faith from the beginning. (I wrote more on that in my article on responding to same-sex marriage:

      Back on this Ashley Madison ordeal and the amount of “Christians” involved, it’s painful to see the fallout from hidden sin. That is a killer…

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