Words = Action: Following God

What are Your Words Saying?

But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says otherwise you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22 (NLT)
Following God is NOT a Passive Activity!
Action is Required

An action can speak louder than words. I have heard this Biblical proverb most of my life as quoted to me and I in turn have quoted it to others. How many times however have we really thought about those words other than trying to get someone else to see the “error of their ways” through an action for us?

Words can have a lot of impact but what we all really want to see is the heartfelt results experienced through the action of words. It goes right along with “talk is cheap”, meaning there is no real contribution that has to be put forth when throwing around words. But in order for words to be put to the test and pass, a great investment of action must be seen.

A quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi is truly a call to action with little talk. “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” If you work with a lot of volunteer organizations you really understand how important the actual volunteers are in order to get the “action” done. It is very frustrating to an organization when there is a great amount of tasks to be completed but no one wants to volunteer to get the work done only reap the benefits of the end results. As I have found myself at the week’s end searching for volunteers to aid in the running of an organization that deals directly with the needs of the public, this has really spoke to me.

Mediating upon the issue and how to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone to really show the action of Christian love, I began to wonder if God feels the same way about our actions to Him. Are we just full of talk or words and very little action? We show up to the Sunday morning service, read the scripture, perhaps take part in a Bible study or devotion time but do we do anything with it? Do our actions speak the words to others that see us?

Some time ago I read an illustration that Chuck Swindoll wrote in his book, Improving Your Serve, The illustration suggested that you imagine or “pretend” that you work as an executive assistant in a company that is very successful and is growing rapidly. The owner of the company wants to expand overseas and has decided to travel abroad and will live there until a new branch office is securely established.

The owner makes all the arrangements for his family and moves to Europe for an extended period. He leaves you in charge of the busy stateside company. He tells you that he will write you regularly to give you directions and instructions.

The owner then takes leave and as the months pass, he does as he has promised and sends regular and consistent communication to you. As the communication arrives it spells out very clearly the expectations of the owner and how you are to conduct things during his absence.

Finally after being gone for close to a year the owner returns. Not long after his arrival home he drives down to the office and what he finds sends him into shock. The outside of the building is in disrepair with several windows along the street broken and the grass and weeds have grown up alongside of the building. He is feeling full of dismay but hopes things are better once he gets inside of the business.

However as he walks into the receptionist’s room he finds her doing her nails, chewing gum, and listening to loud very inappropriate music for a business setting. As he looks around he notices that the waste basket is overflowing with trash, the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed in a very long time, and no one seems concerned that he, the owner, has arrived.

The owner asked about where you were and someone in the crowded lounge area points down the hall and yells, “I think she is down there”. He begins to make his way down the hall and bumps into you as you are finishing a game of chess with the sales manager. He asks for you to step into his office that he finds turned into a television room for afternoon entertainment.

He begins to sputter and spit out words in clipped tones asking, “What in the world is going on?” You reply calmly, “What do you mean?”  Stunned, the owner exclaims, “Well, look at this place! Didn’t you get any of my letters?” You reply, “Letters?” Oh yes! I have every one of them. As a matter of fact, we have had a letter study every Friday since you left. We have even divided the staff into small groups to discuss many of the things you wrote.”

You continue on, “Some of the things you wrote were really interesting. You will be pleasantly pleased to know that a few of us have actually committed to memory some of your sentences and paragraphs. One or two even memorized an entire letter or more; there was some really great stuff in those letters.”

The owner just stares at you before speaking, “You received my letters. You studied them and mediated on them; discussed and even memorized them. But what did you do about them?” You look back at the owner confused and reply, “Do? We didn’t do anything about them.”

Does this story hit home with you as it did me? How many times have we read scriptures and know what we are clearly directed to do, but do nothing.  We don’t like action, as it can take us from our comfortable lives and into the unknown. Action can possibility be dirty and most often requires a great commitment. Our focus verse this week really speaks about putting to action God’s words. Following God is not a passive activity, it requires action! It is more than just attending church, reading, or participating in a Bible study.

We must obey God’s word and put it into action so our behavior and our heart changes. Following Christ is really a three-fold process in order to be right with God ”“ we must listen, we must obey what we hear, and then we must put into action the things that need to be done in order to change our behavior and attitude. When we accomplish these things then our actions will have spoken louder than the words because the words will have equaled our actions.

This week our focus verse is from James 1:22;

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says otherwise you are only fooling yourselves. (NLT)

What are Your Actions Saying?

It is so much easier to sit and listen to God’s word without having to actually ”do” something.  Putting God’s words to action takes work and is sometimes very difficult because it means that we have to lay down this world and its pressures and focus solely upon God and all that He encompasses. It is however required if we want to be right with God and seek eternal life. (Matthew 7:21) (Romans 2:13)

There are three things that will make a positive impact on your life by putting God’s words into actions. By simply taking the words and study of God and applying them you will create an “action” within yourself.

  1. Your attitude and behavior will change in such a way that it will be noticeable to all that come into contact with you. This will be because you are doing more than listening, you are obeying.

  2. You will see that your heart will change increasing your trust factor in God. You will depend upon Him in all aspects of your life before you look to others.

  3. You will be more at peace with life and its challenges. You will gain an eternal trust and the comfort of knowing that all will be well.

Do you remember the story of Lawn-chair Larry? In the summer of 1982, Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man, decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective.

He went down to the local army surplus store and purchased forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, and had several of his friends tie the now helium-filled balloons to the chair. Reports said that he took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, and a BB gun. It was his thought that he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.

Walters, thought that the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air and so he was totally caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky and right into the middle of the air traffic pattern at the Los Angeles International Airport. He became too frightened to shoot any of the balloons and stayed airborne for more than two hours. This forced the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing severe delays in flights across the United States.

Once he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:

Were you scared? “Yes.”

Would you do it again? “No.”

Why did you do it? “Because, you can’t just sit there!”

It is time we show our love for Christ through the significant obedience of action because we can no longer “just sit there”. We must allow our actions to show others our belief as it has often been said that our words mean nothing to others but our action do.

The Teacher’s College at Columbia University in New York has a learned saying;

I hear and I forget,

I see and I remember,

I do and I understand.

It is easier to hear and forget but the consequences of such are foolish. (Matthew 7:26) Obeying and doing puts words to work with an action.  Action creates the understanding we need to have a better life through our connection and relationship with God. This is important for not only this world but the one in which we plan to join our creator in.

We all must put the words of God to work through our actions.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Post Script

Jesus is not living in retirement nor is He far away. The Gospel of Luke describes Christ as present, active, and full of action among his people after his death, resurrection, and ascension.

Jarrid Wilson in his book, Jesus Swagger: Walk the Walk, points out that Jesus didn’t die a gruesome death so that we could live mediocre and comfortable lives. He gave his life for us and expects in return for us to be full of action giving our best back to Him.

What are your Thoughts? Join Us in Discussion

Does your life show the action of living for Jesus? Does your everyday attitude leave others wondering about the greatness of God? Is it time you put the words of God to work? Do you find it easy to put the words of God into action? Join us in Discussion on the topic of putting God’s words to action.

How God is working through your life?