Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Than Actions

By Morgann Burres
We’ve all had that moment. 
You’re driving down the freeway, windows rolled down and the radio is blasting your favorite tunes.  And then…it happens.  As you sing along, you come to a point in the song when you realize that you’re singing a different word than the one in the song.  You feel dumb and go back and listen to that same spot over and over again until you figure out what the artist is saying.  And sometimes, if you’re like me, you just resort to Google.

Well, that was me yesterday.  I felt like a goof.  I’ve been listening to a new song called We Believe by Newsboys.  The bridge goes like this:

So let our faith be more than anthems,
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations,
We believe, we believe!

Well somehow, for the past couple months, I’ve been singing, “So let our faith be more than actions…”  When I realized what I had been singing, I just felt dumb.  In church, we always talk about our faith needing to be more than just belief, but that we actually need to act on it.  We often reference James 2:17:

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

God has caused my heart to mull over the words that I have been singing and had so quickly dismissed as being heresy.  The more that I thought about the words I had been singing, “So let our faith be more than actions…”, the more I came to understand that for me, that is an honest prayer of my heart.

The truth is, the “action” part of faith is not challenging for me most of the time.  It is easy for me to take risks for the sake of the Gospel; it’s easy for me to act in ways that reflect beliefs like God is in control or God will provide.  But where I find my faith lacking is in the true belief part.   Sometimes my faith gets reduced to just actions – do the right things, say the right words, go to the right places. 

I want a faith that is living and active in my mind and my heart.  I want a faith that is more than actions.

I want to truly believe what God says in His word.  I want my heart and mind to be captured by those truths, to think them through and to claim them as the cornerstone of my life. 

Sometimes actions are easy because they look good.  Sometimes they are easy because of the praise of other people.  Sometimes they are easy because they are what we’ve been raised with.

Belief is something that is between you and God.  Only you and He can know where your heart is. 

The rest of the song goes:
We believe in God the Father,
We believe in Jesus Christ,
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And he’s given us new life.
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that he conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And he’s coming back again, we believe.

Even though I got the lyrics wrong, and it is very true that our faith needs to be more than anthems, I think that through my mistake, God revealed to me a great truth: our faith needs to be more than anthems AND actions. When our faith is reduced to one or the other, it’s incomplete faith. 

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us (1 John 3:23).

Belief + action = faith honoring to God.  If we leave out any part, it’s not complete.

Where is your heart?  Is belief hard for you – to honestly and wholly believe the truths of God’s word?  Are your actions a direct result of your core beliefs, or are they just works to make you feel good or look good? 

Let our faith be more than anthems.  Let our faith be more than actions.  Let our faith be both.

Father, Thank you for your Word and the truth that is found within it.  We know that often times, our actions are not driven by pure motives, but rather by a desire to earn your favor or gain the praises of others.  We want our faith to be belief and action paired together so that you are honored and glorified in our lives.  Thank you for your grace with us as we grow.  We love you, God.


Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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