Actions Speak Louder Than Words

We can become really good at saying the “right things”. It sounds good, maybe looks great on paper; it makes us and those who hear or read it feel better about the issue at hand.

But what about when we fail to act in a way that supports what we say? I’ve always been fascinated and saddened at the same time, with large institutions who engage causes they hold high while failing to live out their commitment to them.

This recent debacle with the Women’s NCAA Basketball training room is a great case in point. The NCAA pushes the equality agenda, but by many people’s standards failed miserably at practicing it in this situation.

I think it illustrates though, a deeper truth that Paul was getting to in his letter to the Church in Corinth.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

With the absence of love, what I say and what I do doesn’t really matter. More, they will never line up. I can talk a good game, but my ability to play will be weak. And my true intentions, thoughts, and feelings will shine through.

While Paul was clearly illustrating for us the importance and power of love, I think there is more we can gain from his teaching. When we fail to act in a way that is congruent with what we say, what we say is worthless. James communicates this in a less subtle way.

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:17

To be clear, James isn’t teaching works-righteousness (your good works save you), but is making the point that our faith and claim as a follower of Jesus ought to be supported by our actions. People should be able to identify us as a follower of Jesus by how we live our life.

Paul and James in their own way issue us a challenge through these passages of Scripture, and it’s one I am reminded of hearing the story referenced above.

Does my life, the decisions and behaviors, even the thoughts I have, reflect the commitment to Jesus I claim?

Or am I just a loud gong? Do I just do a good job at saying the right things, and have a faith that’s dead?

Jesus wants more, He expects more. And the beautiful thing is, with Him we can be more.

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