Weekly Wisdoms for the week of May 23, 2022
"Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words." That advice, originally given by St. Francis of Assisi, is applicable today, because how you behave tells the world what you believe. How you treat others, how you spend your money, how you maintain your house, car, and other possessions, and even how you drive all speak loudly about what you believe.
The world is hungry for something real; they're searching for answers to life. But the world's not reading the Bible; they're reading Christians. And they will recognize true Christians by their fruit, not their mouth, not their bumper sticker, not their cross earrings, but their fruit--their actions (Matthew 7:20).
Clearly, how you behave tells the world what you believe. In other words, your life is a sermon.
Therefore, it is very understandable that James instructs: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like (James 1:22-24).
Faith involves more than hearing and believing; faith demands action. Therefore, the best way to preach the Gospel is to live the Gospel, because how you live boldly declares what you believe.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus instructed us—His followers—to love others: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." As Christians, learning to walk in love should be a very high priority.
Unfortunately, we often love others only superficially—that is, we talk love, but don't live love. James 2:15-16 addresses this problem: "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"
If you say that you love someone, but don't express it by what you do, then that "love" is worthless. Indeed, it isn't even real love.
Likewise, 1 John 3:17-18 asks, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." Here again, we are instructed to love with actions—not just with our mouth.
Follow the instructions of Jesus: love one another. However, remember that real love must be accompanied by actions, because love unexpressed is not love at all.
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