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
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.