Today is Saint Patty’s Day. It also happens to be Sue’s nephew’s birthday (my nephew-in-law). That would have to make him Irish, wouldn’t it? We usually celebrate this holiday given Sue’s Irish heritage and just our overall affinity for all things Irish. I say “usually” meaning we celebrated last year. And though I didn’t wear green today I did eat two bowls of Lucky Charms. I wonder if that counts. For an interesting blog post on the actual St. Patrick visit Donald Miller’s Blog.
On a different note, it seems that in my life that the LORD speaks to me and teaches me through many different means and many different voices. If there is some struggle He wants to address it is like I hear the same message told in a thousand different ways, whether a verse, a sermon, a movie, a painting, or a C.S. Lewis’ tweet. Today I was blessed and challenged by the sermon given by Stephen Davey.
He preached from one verse today from James 2:19, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!” His main point is that even the demons have faith. They have a belief system. But having the right belief system doesn’t matter if you do not actually live out what you believe. Davey broke down their faith like this: Demonic Faith is recognition without relationship, acknowledgment without acceptance, and reverence without repentance. Though their theology was sound, their lives did not correspond. They were not transformed by their knowledge.
The case with the human race, however, is that there are not many who are willing to acknowledge their open rebellion towards God. The words are not said but rebellion is clearly articulated in how they live. Mark Liederbach says that Stated Belief + Actual Practice = Actual Belief. What I find in the lives of many Christians and sadly, what I find in my own life, is that we say we believe but there are often times a disconnect in how we live.
That is, if I truly believe the words of Christ then my life should be defined by loving my enemies, caring for the poor, being humble, and serving the saints with the utmost joy. Jesus says in Mark 8, “If anyone would follow after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” I find it interesting that Christ says if you want to follow Him then you must follow Him. The redundancy is purposeful and its simplicity is revealing. If you want to love Christ, love your neighbor, give your life for the Gospel, then by the power of God, love Christ, love your neighbor, and give your life for the Gospel.
So many times in my life I believe but I don’t do. A friend of mine who is an exceptional guitarist was playing one day and I mentioned to him that I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. He said to me he heard that all the time but at the end of the day no one really wanted to learn because they didn’t do what was necessary to learn. Taking the time, energy, and practice to actually learn. If they wanted to they would just simply do it.
I think there is a lot of truth in that. We can talk all day about wanting to follow Jesus but it will never become a reality until we actually do it and live it.
To end on a money quote by Abigail Adams,
“You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you an inactive spectator…we have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.”