“Words are cheap, show me you mean it.”
Most of us have been in situations where we say one thing but our actions tell a different story. For instance, if you were telling a friend that you were sorry for all the wrong you’ve done but you continue after forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness, and forgiveness but still persist in your ways, then you will realize that he or she will get to the point of not believing your words.
When there is spoken word and action to back it up, there is an added value of power and belief but the opposite is also true where a lack of action actually decreases the power of the word. Multiple promises with multiple lack of actions leads to a steady decline of power in those words because the speaker has gave up their position of power, which is their credibility or trustworthiness.
In these past devotionals, a similar call and lesson throughout is the importance of action and more specifically the importance of acting out our beliefs and convictions. As I have said in the past, a conviction that you get in a moment is only a nice thought if there was never action to back it up. In today’s passage God calls for massive action from the sinful Israelites and here are some things we can take away from this exhortation.
QUALITY OF FAITH IS DETERMINED DAILY
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’”
The Israelites were banking on the tradition and sacred location of the temple to validate their faith before God. God is saying to them that their tradition and even this physical building does not justify their sins of today. God is saying to them that the way they can continue to enjoy the blessings of God is if they fix their crooked ways and begin to live as people after God’s own heart.
For the Christian what does this mean?
The encounters you had in the past or the Christian family you come from NEVER justifies the sins of today nor tomorrow and if you want to continue to experience the intimacy of His presence, then we must connect with Him by living like Him for like attracts like. Does this mean that you can lose your salvation? I believe one can never lose salvation but if they live in persistent sin without any effort to come against it, then the question is no longer about losing salvation but whether salvation was there to begin with!
The Christian life is a daily choice and requires daily our participation in what God wants to do in us, through us, and around us. How can we hear His voice? Read His word and meditate upon it daily and frequently!
FAITH IS EXPRESSED IN ACTIONS OF LOVE TOWARDS OTHERS
“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.”
We get questions as to how we can truly love on God and glorify His name and the answer is pretty simple but very hard to carry out; love the things that God loves! When people are in a deep relationship and they want a relationship that lasts, then what needs to happen if not naturally is that the people in that relationship begin to take interest in what the other person likes. For instance, if the other person likes working out, the other person may start looking into it so that they can know the other person better. If one person loves italian food then the other will at least try it out to see why their significant other likes it so much. I am not saying that we have to adopt every hobby or habit that our loved ones have but when you’re in a relationship with someone, there needs to be at a base level a support or care for their passions for to not care even a little is not so much a rejection of that desire but a rejection of that person.
So what does God care about? The well being of people! When we say we love God but hate people then we need to pause for a minute and ask ourselves how this is even a possibility because to love God is to love the things He loves and He is passionate about people. Let us not forget that God sent His Son to die for people! We say we love God but when we don’t show that love through loving others then we are just throwing up empty phrases that overtime will only diminish the value of our words, praises, promises, and credibility.
Today, in what ways can you begin to live with massive action to support your words? Take time to reflect but don’t just sit in reflection because even reflection without action is useless!