Tag Archives: actions speak louder than words

Living Honorably

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

How many times have you told someone, “Actions speak louder than words”? Probably too many times to count. A pet peeve that we all share is someone who says one thing and does another. It speaks to their credibility and your ability to trust what they say. I’m sure we can all think of examples right now of times we’ve encountered this in others. The sad thing is that it happens in the Church as much as anywhere. That’s why the book of James in the Bible is pretty much about just that.

We’re all familiar with “Don’t just be a hearer of the Word, but a doer also,” and “Faith without works is dead.” James continues this theme throughout his book to remind us that we can’t just talk like Christians, we must live and act like Christians. James 3:13 says, “Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts” (MSG). As he wrote, it speaks to our reputation.

Living well can be translated into living honorably. People around us should be able to trust what we say. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich.” What is your reputation among other believers? Are you someone they can count on? Are you a person that has an honorable reputation among your local group of believers? What about your reputation among non-believers? To me, this one is of utmost importance. How can anyone accept our faith if the way we live our life is in opposition to what we profess to believe?

I was always told that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. What I’ve learned is that there is always someone looking. People are always watching us as believers. Our lives should reflect what we say we believe. I’m not saying you have to live perfectly because that’s impossible, but you do have to live honorably. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. So let’s not have dead faith. Let’s be doers of the Word and live a life that acts out the faith we profess.

Photo by JORGE LOPEZ on Unsplash

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Actions Speak Louder


How many times have you told someone, “Actions speak louder than words”? Probably too many times to count. A pet peeve that we all share is someone who says one thing and does another. It speaks to their credibility and your ability to trust what they say. I’m sure we can all think of examples right now of times we’ve encountered this in others. The sad thing is that it happens in the Church as much as anywhere. That’s why the book of James in the Bible is pretty much about just that.

We’re all familiar with “Don’t just be a hearer of the Word, but a doer also,” and “Faith without works is dead.” James continues this theme throughout his book to remind us that we can’t just talk like Christians, we must live and act like Christians. James 3:13 says, “Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts” (MSG). As he wrote, it speaks to our reputation.

Living well can be translated into living honorably. People around us should be able to trust what we say. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich.” What is your reputation among other believers? Are you someone they can count on? Are you a person that has an honorable reputation among your local group of believers? What about your reputation among non-believers? To me, this one is of utmost importance. If the faith we claim is denied by the way we live, how will we win them?

I was always told that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. What I’ve learned is that there is always someone looking. People are always watching us as believers. Our lives should reflect what we say we believe. I’m not saying you have to live perfectly because that’s impossible, but you do have to live honorably. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. So let’s not have dead faith. Let’s be doers of the Word and live a life that acts out the faith we profess. 

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Continuously Transformed 

I recently spoke on the importance of your thought life. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” To me this is one of the most important verses in the Bible. What you think determines who you are. Every action that you or I take is based on a thought. Those actions are how we are defined by the outside world. There is a saying they goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” If those actions are driven by thought, then it’s very important to watch what we think.

Your life can be transformed by what you think. If you are a Christian then it already has been. God changes how we live by changing how we think. If you listen to people give their testimony, what they’re really saying is, “I’m not who I was thanks to God.” Romans 12:2 tells us how God changes our lives. It says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (NLT)” God transforms our thoughts and the byproduct is a changed life.

If you’re in need of changing your life from the way it is right now, pray and ask God to change how you think. You can ask God to change how you think about a person, a situation or even a past hurt. If your thoughts about those things are keeping you up or are causing you to act in a way that you don’t want to, God can help you change by changing how you think. You don’t have to be defined by your reactions to past hurts or people. 

If God cares enough to change who you were when He saved you, then He cares enough to help you change how you act now. The transformation He makes in us wasn’t a one time event. It was designed to be continuous throughout your life. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (NLT)” God hasn’t stopped His transformation of you. He will continue it. Give Him permission to continue transforming who you are and how you act by transforming how you think. Salvation was just the beginning of that transformation God wants to do in our lives.

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Love Is Action

How many times have you heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words”? I can’t remember the first time I heard it, but I’m sure it was my parents after I’d apologized for something I’d done multiple times. They knew that saying, “I’m sorry” was different than being sorry. There was no power in my words if there was no will in my spirit. Without being sorry, they were merely empty words. There was no guarantee that I wouldn’t do it again. My parents wanted to be able to trust my words, but until they could, they watched my actions.

When I was a sales manager, I had to forecast my projections each week to my boss. I would sit on a call as we went from store to store with each manager saying what their store would do. The longer the call went on, the higher the numbers went. Each store would give a bigger number so as not to be outdone. When it came to me, I would always break the trend and give a reasonable number. I took flack for it on the call each week, but I felt it was better to be able to back up my words.

Some people would rather look good now by what they say and sacrifice their reputation long term by their actions. That’s not God’s way. I John 3:18 says, “Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love which shows itself in action. (GNB)” It’s easy to say we love others because that’s the right thing to say. It’s completely different to sacrifice what you want for what someone else wants. That’s what love does. It’s choice after choice and action after action that shows whether or not we truly love others.

So many times we are like the managers on those calls where we say the right thing or what we think others want to hear, but we rarely back it up. We use the right jargon and impress people with what we say, but God is looking for more than words. He’s looking at our heart. He’s watching what we do. It’s not just God who is doing that, others are too. They’re basing their idea of Christianity off of the way you and I live each day. They’re listening to our words and watching our actions and we already know which of those is louder.

One of my favorite quotes of all time came from St. Francis of Asisi. He said, “Preach at all times. Use words whenever necessary.” He understood that our lives preach what we believe more than our words ever will. What we do matters more than what we say. We don’t need to sacrifice our reputation or message for temporary acceptance. Live a lifestyle of love and let your actions do the talking for you. That’s the message of i John 3:18.

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Making A Difference

When I get to speak to new employees, one of the things I like to tell them is that their location or workgroup should be different because they are there. I want them to understand that wherever they go, things should change because they are there. I then explain that they have the ability to affect things positively around them or negatively. Ultimately it’s their choice on what kind of impact they’re going to make.

You and I should live our Christian lives with the same philosophy. Our church should be different because we are their. They should be more vibrant and welcoming because we set the time for others to follow. Our work place should be different because of the spiritual influence we carry with us. Our coworkers shouldn’t know we are Christians because we are always preaching at them, but because of our actions. They should see Jesus in us.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippian church, he spoke to them about the effect their conduct had on others and their perception of Christianity. In chapter 1 verse 27 he said, “Live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ (MSG).” He knew that how we live in our day to day lives can either add to people’s perception of Christ or detract from it. He wanted our attitude, our actions to be a credit to the Message. He wanted our lives to lead others to Christ.

Think about the world you live in. Who are the people you come into contact with daily? Do they hear one thing coming out of your mouth and see something totally different in how you live? We’ve all heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” It’s time we applied that to spiritual things. It’s time our behaviors reflected the mind and attitude of Christ. Paul put it this way in Philippians 2:12-13, “Live in responsive obedience… Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation… That energy is God’s energy (MSG).”

If we think we’re living in responsive obedience, try harder. Be energetic in your life. Let God’s energy flow through you today. Don’t be a person who is always negative and sees the worst in every situation. Be the person who sees the best in situations and creates a positive atmosphere. People want to be around that person. People notice when someone is that way. When they ask what makes you different, you have an open door to share a faith that your actions have backed up. Go out today and make a difference wherever life leads you.

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He Simply Obeyed

Joseph, the father of Jesus, has always been one of the people in the Bible that have intrigued me. There’s not much written about him, but he played such an integral role in the story of our salvation. Outside of Jesus, we tend to focus on Mary when we think of the birth of Christ rather than Joseph. We’ll look at her role tomorrow. For today, I want to spend some time looking into the man who would shape the man Jesus would become.

Joseph is mentioned in all four Gospels, but not a word of what he ever said was recorded. I’ve always heard it said that “actions speak louder than words.” If that’s the case, then Joseph speaks volumes. Here’s a man who is engaged to the woman he loves and finds out from her that she’s pregnant. He knows it’s not his. Instead of blowing up and making a big scene, he thinks his response through and decides to handle things quietly so as not to disgrace her publicly. He had every right to have her stoned to death, but he chose not to.

While he was still reeling from the news, an angel visited him and explained that the baby was indeed conceived by God. In Matthew 1:21, Joseph received some amazing news. Not only would he be the earthly father of the Messiah, he would be the one to name Him. God reserved that honor just for Joseph. In verse 24, it says, “When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel commanded.” He didn’t question or argue with God. He simply obeyed at the risk of looking like he had gotten her pregnant before marriage. He took the shame that would have been Mary’s and provided a covering so that Jesus would be born.

The next time we read about Joseph is when the wise men left for home. The angel came back to him at night and said, “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother. Stay there until I tell you to return (Matthew 2:13 NLT).” The next verse says that during the night Joseph left for Egypt. He didn’t even wait until dawn or for Jesus to wake up. He obeyed immediately. Again, he never questioned the angel or God’s plan. He simply obeyed. He was a man of action when it came to obeying the voice of God. I think that’s just who he was as a person too. He was a hard worker, a man who feared God and a man who heard from God.

Joseph heard from the angel one more time. Again, it was at night and the angel said, “Get up! Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel.” Joseph woke everyone up, packed and headed out before sunrise. He simply obeyed what the angel spoke to him. Mary didn’t argue with him over waking her and the baby up to leave. She knew that he was a man of obedience to God. When he told her God spoke to him, she trusted him. She was obedient as well. Simple obedience is what God desires from each one of us. I believe that’s why Joseph was chosen to be the earthly father of Jesus. It’s a trait that Jesus would see modeled in Joseph and later practiced when He went to the cross. You’ll recall that Jesus said, “Not my will be done, but yours.”

Our lives are built around following our own will. They’re built on doing what’s right for ourselves and making ourselves look good in the eyes of others. Those things are the opposite of what being obedient to God is all about. Joseph was a man of simple obedience. He was a man of few words. A man of action. We could learn a lot from this silent hero in the Bible if we just took some time to listen to his actions. The next time God asks you to do something out of the ordinary or that could paint you in a negative light, will you argue with Him or answer in simple obedience? You won’t have to say a thing. Your actions will speak louder than words.

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