"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
A few days ago, I was talking with a friend, and he asked me how I was. I shared about how life was okay but still strange and different. When he asked why, I shared about how fast-paced the missions trip was and how different it was here. Our conversation went something like this:
I said, "You know, when you're doing something you love and then come home...it's just different."
He responded, "Oh, what do you love doing?"
"I love sharing the gospel." I smiled.
"Okay, share the gospel with me." He looked up at me from the pool. "Actually, sing it, so I can listen!"
I glanced back at him. "Um, okay!"
Thank you, God, I thought. An opportunity to share the gospel! Yay!
And then I froze up. Where did the gospel start? At the beginning of time, at the beginning of Jesus' life on earth? I could probably eventually figure it out in words, but singing it was way harder. What he said next, though, really hit me.
"Um...I would second-guess that [my statement earlier] if you don't even know how to say it."
Oof. He was SO right! Here I was, talking about how I loved sharing the gospel, and I couldn't even explain it to him fully. I wasn't doing it actively. What probably would've been a more accurate thing to say was that I loved loving on people, praying for people, and encouraging them. But if I'm 100% honest with you - and it's scary and really sad admitting this - I've only shared the gospel with maybe two people, in words and in complete.
Umm...and this is something I said I love to do? And I've only done it those few times? And I'm not actively looking for ways to do it more? UM. That's like saying you love someone - and then only seeing them maybe once a year. And being content with that. But you say you love them - but, well, your actions don't exactly follow...
Now, hold up, before I continue, I do want to say that evangelism is something that God has laid on my heart to grow in and start doing. I am definitelyyy not a pro - far far faaaar from it. But I do want to learn!!
My conversation with my friend made me think beyond just me saying I love evangelism, though. How many times do we say that we love God, but we are actively chasing after the world's heart and not the Father's? How often do I say that I love God, and then disobey Him consistently and choose my own path? How often do you say that you love God, but if someone were to look at your life, they would be shocked to hear that you’re a Christian?
If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence for the judge to condemn you and say that you are?
Or would you get off real easy – because your life looks exactly like the that of the world’s? Take a moment right now and evaluate your life. How would you be convicted?
It’s sooo, so easy to say that you love something or are something or have done something. It’s so easy to just talk the talk. But are you also walking the walk? Are you actively living in a manner worthy of God?
Now, don’t get confused – we are saved by faith alone. There isn’t a list of do’s and don’ts that you need to perfectly follow to become a Christian and go to Heaven. That’s what makes Christianity soo much different than any other religion! It’s so cool and so awesome and just...wow God is so good!! Ephesians 2:8-9 says that “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” You could never earn your way into the Kingdom of God. But that’s okay – God gave us a gift of salvation, that if we would only believe, we could become His child.
Howeverrr, the result of having faith should be that your life is different – and that you follow His will and His commandments. Out of an overflow of love for God should be a desire to follow Him and please Him and bring glory to Him! For example: when I like someone, I’ll usually try to make him happy, try to make him smile (at me too haha), I’ll learn all about him and the things that he likes, and will jump at a chance to help him or serve him. He’s never far from my mind. I’ll try to be around him as much as possible, and I enjoy and look forward to pleasing him. I’m quick to respond to his texts.
Likewise, when we love God – and are in love with God – we strive to live our lives in a way that pleases Him. We savor the times with Him and long to hear from Him and learn from Him. Our minds are consumed with thoughts of Him. We look for ways to serve Him. We try to please Him and not sin. We strive to follow His commands. We spend time with Him – and look forward to it. We pray. Soon, our lives look more like Jesus’.
James 2:17 says, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Dead. Ooofta. Dead?! If I say that I have faith, but I have nothing to show for it, and I have no works, my faith is deaaad? And right before that, James says “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (2:14)” Woowwwza. Yipes.
James 2:18 also says “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” Read that over one more time, slowly. I will show you my faith by my works. Let it sink in.
When you have faith, works will follow, because of your love for God.
I encourage you to read these next verses all the way through. James 1:22-25 says to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
My prayer is that when people look at me, they would see Jesus. I pray that my life would point to God in the way that I act and speak and love. I don’t want to be all talk – but I have to confess that sometimes, I am. I get caught up in sounding smart and wise and like a “mature Christian” that I forget that actions speak MUCH louder than words. If I have to say that I’m a Christian in order for people to know, then maybe I’m not living my life the way I should! The Bible says that you will know them by their fruits – that you will recognize Christians by the fruit they produce, by the way they live.
It is SO easy to say that you love God. But I challenge you to ask yourself: Does your life reflect that love that you have for the Father? Would it be easy for people to recognize Jesus in you? We're not called to fit in - we're called to stand out for God's glory.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."