In other words, I want to help us put more action in our ideas and more of our Christian ideas into action – to close what some people call ‘the knowing-doing gap’; the space between knowledge acquisition and knowledge implementation.
After all, if we truly believe we have the message for ‘the people walking in darkness’ ( Isaiah 9:2) then we need to ‘let our light shine amongst men’ (Math 5:16), do we not?
Then one day it struck me. We already ARE living our words. We already ARE living from our values; the principles and beliefs we hold as important whether those principles and beliefs are Christ-like or not!
If this is true, then our moment to moment and situational actions reveal what principles and beliefs we really believe. You know, when the chips are down, when our backs are against the wall, when push comes to shove – those kinds of situations. When we have to make a choice whether to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of the gospel, or find some excuse to go home.
This insight came after working with a client who was prioritising work over family time and although she said family time was more important, she was spending more time at work.
She didn’t deny it but was visibly taken aback when I pointed out that ‘there are things we say we value – and then there is what we do. Here exists a demonstration of our true values.’
I once saw a saying on a Christian website, ‘If you want to know a man’s theology, look what he does with the contents of his wallet.’
I think that quote was saying we spend money on what is important to us. If, for example, we can give more to the Kingdom of God and we know it – yet we don’t – we are demonstrating to some extent the value we place upon building the kingdom of God.
So, back to Living your Words. It was a real shock to me to realise I was living my words but I was feeling really unhappy about my actions because I was not living God’s Word in the way I wanted to.
I was spending far too much time watching films, and spending money on DVDs and junk food. ‘For where your heart is, there your treasure shall be also.’(Luke 12:34) And I was avoiding admitting my sin yet John says in 1 John 1:18 ‘If we say we have no sin then we are deceived and the truth is not in us.’
Once I realised this, I thought about the things I spent most time and resources on and asked myself what these things suggested that I truly valued. Of course, the pat answers came up. But I continued to ask myself:
o What do I really value?
o What does my behaviour suggest is really important to me?
So my question now is not so much – are you living your words? That is important if you have values and dreams and are not realising them. But another question, perhaps more important is ‘Are you living out of the teachings/words of Jesus Christ?’
Do you organise your life and thinking according to ‘the mind of Christ’?
Jesus said ‘If you hold to my teaching you are truly my disciples…’ John 8:32. Did he perhaps mean that some of us would say we are His disciple but not live from His principles and example when it was not convenient to us. I think he did…’Many will say Lord, Lord…’
If our behaviour reveals what we TRULY believe, then what does your behaviour suggest is most important to you?
If this article has touched you to the heart, I ask you to think about these following questions:
Pick an area of your life where you’re not happy with the way you are thinking or behaving:
o What does my behaviour suggest I really place importance on?
o Am I living by the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Father as revealed in the Holy Scriptures?
o Where could there be a greater match between what I say I believe and what my behaviour suggests?
o What does my behaviour suggest I truly believe?
o Do I need to repent (metanoia – change my mind to a different direction)?
God says we can change as he will grant us repentance. Where there is a disparity between our stated cherished principles and our actual actions, dig for what you truly believe by asking: ‘What am I really holding as important here?’
Once you have some answers, you can decide if you need to repent. Otherwise, you may just go on deceiving yourself.
o What do you truly want to live by?
o Why do you not?
. What would have to change in order for you to decide to live by this new principle?
o What would you have to believe?
o Can you?
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