Sharon Hodde Miller’s words are a modern expression of James’ insights 2000 years ago:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17.)
Your words of faith, the way you speak of your relationship with Jesus, gain weight when accompanied by action. When those actions are inconsistent with your statements of faith people can’t help but wonder if your faith is real at all.
This is not the same as never failing to keep the faith. That will happen. Yet your faith is not dependent on you but on Jesus who is eternally faithful. He never lets you go.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30.)
And in this relationship with God, your actions count. Paul exhorted:
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling … (Philippians 2:12.)
If that is all he said, you are left to wonder what it means to work out a salvation that is dependent on Jesus. But he didn’t leave it there:
… for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13.)
The working out of salvation Paul mentions in verse 12 is actually the work of God in and through you as he fulfill his good purpose, his perfect will. Your actions for God are really God’s actions in you.
Actions Magnify Words
Actions magnify words of faith by magnifying God.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together. …
… keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34: 3, 13-14.)
As David pointed out in Psalm 34, the way to keep your words and actions in line is to seek peace, pursue peace, do peace.
After all, the one you serve is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) who promised:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27.)
This means that even the peace you pursue (Psalm 34) is a peace already given to you. It is your privilege to live that peace in how you treat the people God puts in your life each day.
Let your actions of peace be the megaphone for your words of faith and, in doing so, let us magnify the Lord together.