Blooming rose in the Rose Garden at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Loving without doing

Can you follow Christ and sit at the same time? And I don’t mean rest because many times Christ-followers will work themselves to death, and I firmly believe we should rest before we get to that point. But how closely related is action to our Christian walk?

Many times, I think people accept Christ because they want to avoid going to hell. And don’t get me wrong. That’s a great reason to accept Christ. But it’s not the only reason. Being able to spend eternity in heaven with God after we die is certainly a huge selling point of Christianity, but for me there are more important reasons that have to deal with our daily life. Eternity is the end reward. Do we even realize that following Christ offers awesome blessings every day?

But you won’t get the opportunity to be blessed if you sit back and do your own thing all the time.

Blooming rose in the Rose Garden at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Blooming rose in the Rose Garden at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is 1 John 3:18.

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

Love is a human experience that shouldn’t be passive. I won’t say passive love isn’t real, but sometimes I wonder. If you love someone, you want to do things for them, you want to show them how much you love them. Maybe that’s just me.

I don’t need people to prove their love for me personally, but when it comes to expressing my love for other people, I love to serve. I love to help. I love to do things for them as evidence to them that I love them.

Even if you aren’t one of those crazy servant-hearted people who run themselves into the ground in the name of Christ, you still do things for people you love. You don’t just sit back and refuse to interact with people you love. You don’t sit back and watch them struggle without doing something to help. Even if all you can do is pray for them, you still do something.

If you tell someone you love them, are you willing to back it up with actions?

The difficulty comes when we realize just how difficult love can be. Love hurts. You always take a risk when you love, no matter what kind of love it is. if it’s friendship-love or family-love or romantic-love, it doesn’t matter. Love makes you vulnerable. Love opens the door to your heart and decorates it in bright neon signs, which makes it ever so much easier to find and break.

It’s so much easier to tell someone you love them and then invent a clever reason why you can’t help them when they ask. It’s so much easier to tell someone you love them and then keep yourself so busy you don’t have time to invest in their lives.

Love isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Because when you love as a Christ-follower, God’s love shows through you. And God’s love changes people. God’s love changes you inside, and it changes the people around you too.

The more you love like God loves, the more you start to see like Him. You see people like God sees them. You see the world like God sees it. And it’s really really hard to hate people when you’re looking at them through God’s love.

And how does this amount to blessings? Well, have you tried it?

I’m the most blessed person in the world. I really believe that. I try not to think about it too much because I’ll just turn into a crying wreck of sloppy gratitude and dumbstruck awe that God would give me so much to be thankful for. But years ago, I didn’t believe that. Years ago, I didn’t see the blessing. I just saw people and problems and the never-ending struggle to survive from day to day, but the more I’ve learned and the more I’ve gotten to know God, the more I understand what He’s done for me personally. And that alone is enough to help me see that I’m already blessed.

But more than already blessed, I’m already loved. God loves me so much, I can’t help but love other people too. Yeah, it’s messy and exhausting and emotionally draining at times, but what can compare to watching someone else experience God’s love through you?

Elephant

A mind like an elephant?

Elephants never forget, right? That’s what people say, at least. I think it has something to do with how they can remember places and locations like traditional walking paths and burial grounds. Apparently, they just have really good memories. And that’s more than I can say for some of us human types.

People forget things all the time. I forget things all the time. I get so bogged down and crazy in my day that I forget all sorts of things, and even when I write down the things I want to remember, I usually end up forgetting something anyway. Best example is when I go grocery shopping. I will make my list out, and then I’ll forget my list. Or even if I don’t forget the list, somehow I still end up forgetting something I really really needed.

Why is that? Me, I think I’m scatterbrained. I know I’m busy. I think it’s a lack of focus too. There’s so much going on that it’s difficult to concentrate on just one thing. But sometimes concentration is what we need to make sure that we don’t forget something truly important.

Elephant

Elephant - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is James 1:25.

But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

I think people forget (or maybe they never knew) that the Bible is an instruction book on how to live. It’s not just a collection of old stories that talk about God and miracles and people who dressed funny and floods and catastrophes. It’s one big story about how to live–and how not to live–and about the consequences people who made really poor choices had to face.

It’s full of wisdom. Practical wisdom. Step-by-step instructions on how to get through a day in some instances. But people don’t think about that. Even Christians get it in their heads that the Bible is a book we use to convince people that Jesus is God. And that’s true. The Bible does offer evidence that Christ is God. And the Bible offers all sorts of evidence about its own viability. But the Bible isn’t just a body of evidence. It’s God’s direct words, spoken to you and to me to teach us how to live and how to have a relationship with Him.

You can read technical articles and biographies about great Christians and 12-step programs about how to clean your life up all day long, but nothing else will teach you how to get close to God better than the Bible. And it works the same way as all those other books: you have to read it, you have to do what it says, and you have to keep doing what it says.

That’s it. Just like any other instruction book.

What good is an instruction book if you don’t read it? What good will it do you if you don’t do the things it tells you to do? If you’re building a table and it tells you to put Leg B into Slot B and you decided you want to put Leg F in Slot B, your table is going to look funky. Why? Because you didn’t follow the instructions.

No one gets upset at the instructions when they don’t follow them and their project doesn’t turn out. They just realize that they didn’t follow them. But when we don’t read the Bible and our lives go crazy, we turn on God and claim He doesn’t love us. What? How can He not love us? He gave us an instruction book. It was our choice not to apply it in our lives. And we have to face the consequences of that choice when things don’t turn out the way we expected.

The Bible is here for us. God gave it to us so we can know how to live.

Read it.

Do what it says.

And keep doing what it says. Don’t forget. Don’t set it aside like a checklist or a grocery list like it’s something so unimportant that you can remember it without effort–because you probably can’t.

And God says He’ll bless you for it.

What do Steven Curtis Chapmen, dc Talk and Fireflight all have in common?

Another chilly morning but not too cold. It’s up to 41 in my office at the moment and I have my heater on; my fingers are still pretty numb though. I woke up at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I did some business-related things which will hopefully be debuting soon. I get to come home again tonight, which I’m very much looking forward to. Dad and a friend from his work are also coming out this afternoon to look at my poor dryer in hopes that they can fix whatever this random electrical issue is. I can make do without a dryer but it’s kind of a hassle . . . . and since we’ve already paid to have it fixed? It would be nice for it to work.

I got a funny look from a coworker yesterday when I told him I didn’t have a smart phone. Lol. I’m probably the only person in Marketing that doesn’t have one. Everybody else has Droids but I just don’t know if I’m sold on the idea. I don’t know if I would actually use all the apps, so why spend the extra money to get one? I don’t know. I can get a new phone in February. I guess I’ll see what happens . . . .

Oh, and also I finally got around to looking at my best buddy Katie Morford’s web page yesterday. It’s pretty cool. She has her own domain name and everything! (http://www.katiemorford.com)

And I also figured out how to link this silly blog to my Facebook. I have no idea what that means. As soon as I’m done here, I’m going to go look at my Facebook and see what happened.

The daily verse is one of my favorites: Micah 6:8

8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
      and this is what he requires of you:
   to do what is right, to love mercy,
      and to walk humbly with your God.

 It always makes me think of that old Steven Curtis Chapman song, “The Walk.” I remember when that was called rock music. Lol.

To me this verse communicates action. God has told us what to do–so we should go out and do it. I love verbs and this verse is full of them.

Do is a big one, in spite of the fact that it’s only two letters. Doing something–doing anything–is a lot harder to put in practice than it is to talk about it. (Why else do people say, “Easier said than done”?) It’s easy to talk about doing something but when it comes down to actually doing it, people usually have to sacrifice or step out of their comfort zone; and that’s never easy.

Love is a verb (even though, in that sentence, it’s acting as a noun). What is it with songs this morning? Because that’s a dc Talk song. Oh, well. It’s true. Love is action. It can’t be passive or it’s not love. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and try to tell me that Love can sit idly by and just be. And in this case we’re to love mercy–to love being kind to other people, especially those who don’t deserve it. Talk about easier said than done . . .

Walk is also a verb; but we’re not just to walk, we’re to walk humbly. I’m not sure which is more difficult–loving mercy or walking humbly. Walking humbly means that while we walk, we give credit to God for everything in our lives (including our ability to walk). I mean, do we honestly believe that we would have anything good in our lives if God hadn’t given it to us? In that same vein, we should realize that anything bad that comes into our lives is there because God has allowed it for some reason. Seriously, God gave us life in all its ups and downs and we need to give Him credit for everything.

Living the “Christian Life” isn’t about following a rule book. It’s a conscious choice that is reflected in our actions. I think it’s James that says to be doers of the Word and not just hearers. Yet another song comes to mind, one by Fireflight called “Action.” There’s a lot happening in this broken world of ours, and while we’re not the ones who can fix it, we work for the One who can.