Posts Tagged ‘actions speak louder than words’
“The first duty of love is to listen…” (Paul Tillich)
- Luke 8:21 “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.
- Luke 11:28 “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
- John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
- John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
The question we must ask ourselves is; what are we…who are we listening to? The evidence supports that we are, too often, listening to outside influences, majority rules, and the tyranny of the urgent. As followers of Christ, our first responsibility is to listen intently for the voice of our God. Although we are created in the image of our Creator God, hearing His voice does not come natural; the Adamic nature has sealed that truth. On the other hand, God’s prevenient grace beckons us to come out from our sin and be reconciled. Our reconciliation comes with an invitation to restoration; restoration comes to us with the offer and gift of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit helps us to hear with ears turned to the frequency of God. We can be listeners; we can be hearers, and we can obey God. Love starts with listening and Godly listening requires obedience.
I think, like no other time in history, we have incredible challenges before us…deafening us and preoccupying us from hearing even the gentle woo of Holy Spirit whispering the divine love song of prevenient grace. We suffer from a cacophony of busy-ness, a bombardment of multimedia attacking our senses from a thousand different directions, and the raping of our souls with the villainous creature that is mass consumerism. It is ironic that the blessing our society enjoys is the same cancer that is slowing stealing our soul. Our abundance is starving the very life from us. We don’t know how to listen anymore…maybe we don’t even know who to listen to. We have become accustomed to having people tell us what is good for us and what we need at every point and facet of our life. Most of us are listening to the wrong voices and are turned in the wrong direction.
“Servants of God aren’t controlled by what they hear from fellow human beings; they are controlled by the voice of God.” (Joshua Choonmin Kang)
We are bid to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. We have to stop listening to the voices and focus on the VOICE. The world is a noisy place and it is getting noisier by the moment; however, even in the sea of noisy distractions God is speaking clearly and pointedly to us. I like what A.W. Tozer writes; “We must hear worthily, if we have ears to hear, we can hear God whenever and wherever we might be.” This is an encouragement to me. It helps to know that Holy Spirit is leading me in ways of truth too. Even with encouragement though, there is a word of warning. There are well-wishers and well-doers that would offer advice. Jesus said beware of wolves in sheep clothing. When these types offer advice, test their fruit and heed the caution of Tozer; “listen to no man who fails to listen to God.” Most importantly, guard your heart and obey God
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
Imitation is how human beings learn and grow. Everything depends on whom or what we choose to imitate. The converts at Thessalonica got it right; they imitated Paul and his group (who were imitating the Lord Jesus Christ).
Passion and Devotion-
Francis de Sales, a Jesuit priest in the 16th-17th centuries, wrote “there is only one true devotion, but there are many that are false and empty. If you are unable to recognize which kind is true, you can easily be deceived and led astray by following one that is offensive and superstitious.”
I think it is our passion and sincere desire to grow in the ways of Jesus that help us to mature and become what God desires most in us; and what He desires most is for us to become fully transformed into the image of His son Jesus. Half-baked Christians do not produce the results nor bring joy like the converts of Thessalonica. Actions do indeed speak louder than words…actions that imitate the lifestyle of Jesus produce fruit-bearing results (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10). May our actions speak words of righteousness and holiness…joyful hope of eternity with our Savior King, JESUS! Amen.
This teaching from which this excerpt came was from an inductive study I worked through in the First Letter to the Thessalonians. The full document can be found here.
Jesus said follow me. Becoming his disciple, his follower, brings with the expectation that the one following takes on the appearance and characteristics of the One followed. Jesus called his followers to “learn from me.” Then he sent them out to teach in the manner they had also been taught. The apostle Paul called those he instructed to “follow me as I follow Christ…” All of this begs our asking; “who do I follow and what do I look like?” Is my life a model of Christian living?
“He bid also the others to teach in this way…(Jesus). Therefore Paul also said, ‘as you have an example in us.’ For nothng is more insipid than a teacher who shows his wisdom only in words, since he is then not a teacher, but a hypocrite.” Chrysostom from Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles I