I had a nice conversation with our younger son yesterday afternoon. He was asking how we were doing and I mentioned that my emotions have been strained with the reality of Piper’s loss of weight due to her reduced food intake. But I also expressed that we are not giving up on God’s Word and that I have been trying to keep my mind occupied on other things in and around the house and not dwell on the negatives that I may see with my physical eyes. I told him that although I’ve been feeling a bit worn out that I have been forcing myself to get out and work on my various projects because I know that once I'm up and working around our property that I will feel much better physically, mentally and emotionally… and it seems to be working pretty well!
You know… it doesn’t really do me… or the yard… any good if all I do is talk about the many projects I want to accomplish and not do anything about it! It is another one of those circumstances where I have to put some actions behind my conversation! Which reminds me of James’ words to the Christians living in and around Jerusalem. In chapter two of his letter he talks about the futility of seeing a friend in need and saying all kinds of nice and even encouraging things to them without actually providing some assistance for their needs. He concludes that thought with the question, “where does that get you?” (James 2:16 The Message)
And then I cannot help but laugh at the bluntness of his next statement as described by The Message Bible saying: “Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” (James 2:17 The Message) It has been my unfortunate experience within the context of the battle that my wife and I have been fighting over the attack on her health, that the obviousness of the nonsense coming out of the lips of those who have said some nice (and many times not so nice) things to us without accompanying actions… are seen by everyone but them!
This experience is what caused me to coin the phrase I use a lot now describing this activity as “empty words!” Then I later discovered that I wasn’t alone in my frustration as the Apostle John speaks of such things in 1John 3:18 telling us that we should always “show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words.” (God’s Word ©)
In chapter two of his epistle, Pastor James talks a lot about faith without works and how it all connects to love. In verse eight he points us to “The Royal Law” (KJV) The footnote in the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges explains this law as “The love of God which has its roots in faith.” So from his writings we can establish the fact that love, faith and action naturally go together… kind of like peanut butter and jelly!
Well, if I’ve learned anything from our multitude of experiences – both good and bad – during this chapter in Piper’s and my life, it is asking what relevance this experience may have in my life? How can I take what I have been through and use it as a lesson for me? I admit that I have done a lot of introspection over the events of our lives over these last ten years, and have seen areas that I needed to change… and that is exactly what I have endeavored to do! I’ve learned many things through both the positive and negative experiences… some that have been initiated by me while others by the people around me.
I’ve always tended to have a student mentality and enjoy learning new things… even when they’re not too fun at the time! What about you? Do you always combine love with faith and action? Is it something that you might need to work on? Lately, the truth of love, faith and action has spent a lot of time bouncing around in my brain! I guess I’ve still got MORE to learn!
So… Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to combine faith and action as a part of my love walk today?”