Actions speak louder than words
Who sees how we behave as Christians? First of all, of course, God does. He is above all interested in what motivates us, what our intentions are in acting the way we do. Is it out of genuine love, genuine care for others in need? Or is it in order to glorify and elevate ourselves? God sees how we behave and understands the motives and intentions that hide behind those actions.
Who else sees? Other Christians do. We can speak lots of encouraging words, and many people need to be encouraged, but people also need to experience a real, visible and tangible expression of those encouraging words. People need also to have us act on those words, to act upon our faith. Faith that only says, "Bless you. I hope everything goes well with you", grieves God. Our faith and our Christian discipleship must result in action, in prayer, in something. Otherwise, these become empty and hollow words.
Who else sees how we behave as Christians? An unbelieving, sceptical, suspicious and cynical world watches too. It doesn't care how long we have been a Christian or how long we've attended church. It doesn't care about the courses we've been on, books we've read or other notable Christians we've met along the way. Those who aren't yet Christians want to see what faith and discipleship looks like when it's acted out with genuine sincerity and integrity. They know that Jesus told his followers to love one another and to care for one another. They know what they're looking out for. They know what they should see when they look at Christians.
Listening to and studying the Word of God is crucially important. It instructs and encourages us to behave in the way Jesus called us. But simply listening to the Word, even taking it in to our very souls, is only part of the calling of all Christians. Putting that into practice is what really matters. Faith is only effective when we've allowed God to move it from our minds into our hearts then outward into actions. Anything else simply lulls us into a false sense of security thinking we're on the right track.
So who is watching you as you try to live your life as a disciple of Jesus Christ? Are you listening to and studying the Word of God? Are you allowing God to move that from mind to heart to action?
"And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, you are only fooling yourself." (James 1:22).
Actions speak louder than words.
With every blessing, Paul
© Copyright Hatfield Church / Tim Sweed 2008