I was sitting in Sunday School last week when a discussion started about our words. More specifically, the words we use when we share with others what we believe. Our class has been dissecting the book of Romans and it’s been very enlightening and sometimes painstaking to analyze such a powerful and complicated book. We are to the end of it now and as we were wrapping up the conversation, the topic of “speaking up” was introduced.
What does it mean to speak up?
If you’ve read any of Paul’s works, you know that he was very opinionated and full of words. He constantly spoke up for what he felt was true. His mouth got him in trouble a lot. (Can anybody else out there relate to that?) But, what made him believable, what gave his words credibility were his actions. He doesn’t just tell people how they should live and then hold them to a higher standard than he was willing to live up to himself. He lived what he said he believed.
I don’t know about any of you, but I dread all the political ads that will besiege television this year. Election year is upon us. I get so weary of one ad after another telling me that they are the logical choice. One candidate after another declaring that they are the only ones telling the “real” truth. The bantering that takes place on the tube basically feels like a free for all happening in my own living room. The saddest part is that I don’t believe half of what any of them are saying. I have been disillusioned more than once and now their words don’t carry any weight.
Sad but true.
People really do watch how we live our lives. If we are speaking out with a good message but our actions don’t match up with what we say, we are no different than many of those empty campaign ads.
I’ve done my share of hypocritical living, opened my mouth and said things that should never have been said, and then tried to justify all of it. That only left me empty and tired. It’s exhausting to live a charade. It’s interesting though, people do see through all the hype. They see the truth for what it really is. They see our actions and those actions deliver the message that we’re trying so hard to capture with words.
Actions speak louder than words. Our actions become our example.
Which is exactly what we decided in Sunday School. All of our words are meaningless unless we back them with a good example. Unless we live them out and have no duplicity. Unless we hold ourselves to the same standard to which we hold others. If we are genuine and authentic when we speak, folks will listen and believe what we say. And isn’t that the whole point?
One day when I get to heaven I’m going to look for Paul. I have a few questions about what he said here and there throughout the books he wrote in the Bible. But, they aren’t questions about credibility, just clarification.
I believe everything he said, because his life backed it up.
Prayer: Father, so many times my actions have not matched up with my words. Please work in my heart and bring me to a place of total authenticity. Don’t allow me to be a hindrance to the very Good News that I am so desperate to share with those around me. Show me areas in my heart that need to be changed and then empower me to be different. When others speak of me, may their words be gracious because they see genuine joy and effort in my relationship with you. May it be so, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” Titus 2:7 NLT