jeudi 22 janvier 2009

Deeds of love

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. - James 1:22

I've been feeling increasingly convicted about how well I'm conveying my beliefs through my behaviour. While I don't believe that the famous St. Francis of Assisi adage holds up ("preach the gospel, if necessary use words" or something to that effect), I am starting to see how I've been pretty lopsided in my faith. I'm not really a fan of this oft-quoted sentiment because no one can ever lead such an amazing life that words are not required to clarify or explain their actions, but I do think I've been too reliant on words by hoping that they will compensate for my lack of deeds.

However, it's quite clear that in the Bible, both are required, for "as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead" (James 2:26). When Jesus went about His ministry, it was both proclamation and deed - His words explained what He was doing and in so doing, gave life to people, while His actions verified who He said He was. It was not just that God so loved the world but that He gave His one and only Son. Yet I struggle so much with how to turn the intangible into the tangible. Faith, hope and love may be in my head and heart but are they visible through my hands?

This reminds me of a quote that I heard in the 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility. Near the end of the mini-series, Marianne Dashwood says the following: "It is not what we say or feel that makes us what we are, it is what we do or fail to do." This is in reference to the scoundrel Willoughby's actions but it's so true about myself. How often do I do things that back up what I say? Sure I can articulate things but does anyone care if I don't do anything about it? Hmm... convicting thoughts indeed. I pray that deeds of love reflecting the love of Christ would become more real and consistent in my life.

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