Read: Proverbs 30:12
There are those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth.
The story is told of a man who was hiking by himself, and stumbled, slipping over the edge of a sheer cliff. The drop was deadly…100’s of feet to the bottom. Fortunately, he caught onto a lone branch sticking out about 25 feet down as he dropped. He was alive…that was the good news. But the bad news was, there was no way back up, nor anyone to help. All of a sudden, he heard a voice from above: “Let go of the branch…I’ll catch you.”
The guy was astounded—someone was there to help. So he shouted back up the cliff, “Who’s up there.” The voice came back, “This is the Lord. Let go of the branch and I will catch you. You’ve got to trust me.”
He looked 100’s of feet down, thought about this proposal for a moment, then shouted back, “Lord, is there anyone else up there I can talk to?”
Unfortunately, that’s an apt picture of many modern day believers. Their talk is nowhere commensurate with their walk. They say one thing but live an entirely different way. There is an unfortunate disconnect between faith and action.
Sociologists refer to this as the problem of incongruent values. And this disconnect between belief and behavior is the source of much unhappiness, frustration, stress–and valid criticism of Christians and Christianity from a watching world.
Authentic faith isn’t just something you say. Jesus said that the decisive issue in our lives is not what we say; it’s what we obey!
“By their fruit you will know them. Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Not only is true faith not just what you say, neither is it just something you feel. Faith is more than emotions. A lot of people confuse how they feel with faith. Real faith moves beyond sympathy and sentiment. It takes the initiative and becomes practical; it gets involved with people, it takes action, it expresses itself in obedience. If you are unwilling or unable to move your faith from emotion to motion, James 1: 26-27 bluntly says, you not only have a sick faith, you may very well have a dead faith!
Authentic faith is not what you say, or how you feel, and it is not just something you believe. For some people, faith is nothing more than an intellectual thing; mental assent. It’s culturally trendy these days to relegate faith to the cerebral. You hear a lot of folks talk about faith as a private matter—something you are to believe, but please don’t live it out too publicly. Lots of people have strong beliefs in God, the Bible, about Christ. They know all kinds of creeds and catechisms; bible verses and doctrinal stuff. Big deal! So does Satan. He’s a great theologian. He knows a lot more about the Bible than you. The kind of Biblical belief that leads to real faith is more than just head knowledge. Authentic faith is really a matter of inches—the distance between your head to your heart and to your hands.
If real, saving faith, God-pleasing faith is not just something you say or feel or believe, then what is it? Authentic faith is something you do! Faith is active, not passive. It is a commitment that expresses itself in action—in scorn of the consequences! Faith is taking what you know to be true, what is of utmost and eternal value to you, and living it out in every fiber of your existence.
And without that kind of faith, it is impossible to please God! (Hebrews 11:6)
Our faith is not determined by what we do,
it is demonstrated by what we do.
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
Check your values. Are they congruent with your behavior?
- Do you value generosity, but hoard your wealth?
- Do you tout the sanctity of marriage and family values, yet treat your family poorly?
- Do you sing “give peace a chance”, but allow hostility to exist in your relationships?
- Do you believe in God, yet avoid God’s family?
Think of any area where faith should be expressed in your life. Is there a “but” or a “yet” that you would honestly have to add there? If there is a gap between your beliefs and your actions, take a moment to repent—and before you do anything else, close that gap!