Monday, June 21, 2010

When Words Translate Into Deeds

(Our Bangkok work crew, Nov. 2009)

Our lives will always speak louder than our words. James 2:18 says: "But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." Intentions minus actions = nothing. (Thank you J.H. for that.)

Make a promise and not fulfill it, mutatis mutandis, and you are a hypocrite, a mask-wearer.

Paul wrote that "The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power." (1 Corinthians 4:20; οὐ γὰρ ἐν λόγῳ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ἀλλ' ἐν δυνάμει.) That last work, dunamei, is all about action. Where there is dunamei, stuff happens ("dynamic"). Talk without power is im-potent, non-dynanic.

Following after Jesus means taking up the cross, not theorizing about what it would be like to take up the cross. Here is where faith become reality, in the moment where the words of Jesus empower to action. The words "empower to action" are redundant, tautological, since there is no real empowering without action. When the words of Jesus move a person things are set in motion. That motion is always redemptive. Spirit-powered redemptive activity is impressive; words without redemptive activity are not only are worthless but turn people off to Jesus. The famous words "For God so loved the world" do not conclude with "that he sat in his heavenly place and had thoughts and feelings of love for us." Were that true it would mean nothing to us.

The person who only thinks and talks and "dreams" about engaging in redemptive activity without actually doing it in faith is all about their own self. It makes them look good to others without benefitting others. The love of God is an active, for-others love, and never gets perverted into something like: "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life."

When the real God-thing of redemptive love hits words translate into deeds. Things shake and move and demons tremble and prison doors unlock.