“Don’t speak on my behalf unless you’re willing to show my love.”
Do you think your words are convincing when you disregard my cry of desperation? Job 6:26
This isn’t just the heart cry of the Christian faith… the Buddhist’s have a proverb “To know, and not to do, is not yet to know.” The Chinese philosopher Confucius spoke the words “I hear and I forget… I see and I remember… I do and I understand.” In the book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, the author mentioned “the importance of practicing and getting your hands dirty.” So, what does the passage in Job have in common with these other references? That simply reading and knowing God’s Word isn’t enough… that the path towards mastery and getting it requires more… it requires doing something; moving that short distance from the head to the heart; the application of what we’ve learned!
The Bible is filled with messages reminding us that knowing the Word is important, but it is when we put God’s Word into action that God’s love is made manifest. Two such passages are James 2:15-16 and 1 John 3:18…
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? James 2:15-16
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
Over the past several months, I’ve witnessed on two separate occasions individuals who shared that they knew that God existed, but if God was really all about how “those Christians” acted, they wanted nothing to do with Him. Where would they get an idea so strongly set against God’s followers? They would probably point towards people who claim the religion of Christianity, but failed to claim the critical part… the love part of the Christian faith.
Christianity at its heart is all about love because God is love. Anyone who comes up with a religious system that fails to show Christ’s love fails to really know God and what He is about. God’s truth cannot be filed under a separate category from His love. We would be better off not speaking of God at all unless the truths that come out of our mouths were cushioned in love through our actions.
Job’s friends knew all kinds of facts and accusations based on how they saw right from wrong. The problem with their approach, though, was that they neglected to see that Job needed compassion, not a slap on the wrist.
Our words, even our promises to pray for others, are worthless unless we are willing to back the words up with actions based on love. True caring expresses itself in ways that matter to others, not necessarily in ways that come easily to us—until the people we are caring for benefit from our genuine concern.
The easy way to live a form of the Christian life is to abide by the rules in the Bible. Yet if our story was only about rules, and it neglects God’s love, we’ve missed His whole point, as Job’s friends did. They ended up causing him more harm than good.
If we’re going to speak of God, about God, we need to make sure the message we’re passing on is complete… in Word and in deed! The kind of love He undeniably would show.
Heavenly Father… Your love for us is better than life itself! Help to remind me that my primary goal is to show, not just speak, about Your love. Thank you, that Your truth, and love, are inseparable!