Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Enough of the Talk

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (I John 3:18 NIV)

Sometimes we just need the truth straight up.  No easing into it.  No couching it in a more palatable form.  Sometimes the greatest way to demonstrate your love for someone is telling him the truth straight up. This is exactly what John did.

In his world, as in ours, there were lots of talkers.  They talked about love. Maybe they even sang about love.  But when the opportunities presented themselves, they did not love others.  

It is one thing to talk about things we ought to do or should do; it is quite another to actually do them.  How easily we are fooled into thinking if we talk about something, we’ve actually done something.  When I was a first-year seminary student, I remember talking a lot with my classmates about how the Church needed to help the poor.  We had all kinds of wonderful ideas, but I know, for my part, I didn’t do a thing for the poor that year. Yet, I felt pretty proud of myself for how much I cared for the poor.  It was all talk.

In my years of ministry, I have often heard students talk about the need for unity among the ministries on campus because, as Christians, we are one body.  Yet, when I have attended “unity” events, fellow brothers and sisters often have walked by me without ever acknowledging me.  It is easy to talk about our need for unity as believers, but often our actions demonstrate it is only talk.  You cannot be united with someone you don’t even acknowledge.

Churches are filled with talkers; if they were not, the world would be a very different place.  When people hear Christians speaking of love, they are watching for it to be lived out in their lives.  When they hear Christians speak of the abundant life in Christ, they are watching for them to demonstrate how different their lives are because of Jesus.  They are wanting more than mere words; they want to see those words put into action.  That is a reasonable expectation. 

This is why John spoke so directly; his readers needed to hear the truth and so do we:  The power of the Gospel is not in our words, but our actions.  It is not demonstrated in what we talk about in our Bible studies or Sunday School; it is demonstrated by how we live our lives on a daily basis.  

Today, enough of the talk. Let’s try earnestly to put it into action.

© Jim Musser 2013

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