Waking up early, you realize your throat greets you with a sting each time you swallow. Hoping this doesn’t mean a cold approaches, you go about your day, drinking more liquids than normal. But the common cold still attacks. By the end of the day, your throat hurts and your head feels like a bowling ball someone dropped on the floor and allowed to roll around, knocking into everything in its path.
Toward the end of a cold’s reign on your body, you might experience your voice weakening, eventually losing it completely. Talk about frustrating. Right when you’re beginning to feel better, you lose the ability to talk. Even whispering takes too much of a toll on your wounded vocal chords. When this happens, you begin to realize what’s actually worth putting in the effort to say.
What your actions say
Normally, we can communicate well enough when we’ve lost our voice. No dramatic changes to our routine are needed, no pen and paper necessary to communicate. But what if you never got back your voice? How would your life change if you could no longer share audibly your thoughts, your feelings, your hopes?
Let’s go one step further. Imagine you had no words at all. You had no way of communicating aside from your actions. How then would you express yourself?
We give much weight to our words. We make promises, express opinions on social media, write love letters and speak the truth about Jesus. Words carry beauty and excitement and desire. When our words don’t match up with our actions, though, they return void.
Our words are certainly important. With them we speak truth and love. But Jesus reminds us we have to back up our words with loving actions. While our actions should not replace our words, they should add to the truth and love of what we say.
But if you had no voice, what would people hear from your actions? How would others know you were a follower of Jesus? God reminds us again and again how we must love with our actions and how the faith expressed from our mouth should match perfectly the faith expressed through what we do.
People listen to your words, but it’s your actions they pay attention to when learning where your heart lies. What do your actions say about what you believe?
Speaking in private
Your actions tell a story when they speak. They communicate your desires. They explain what’s inside your heart. If your actions don’t reveal the love and truth of Jesus, then it’s time to search your heart and pray for the conviction to make a change.
We all act out of what we believe. Our words are a part of that, but it’s easy to say things without truly meaning what we voice. If you’re curious about what your actions say to those around you, start by thinking of what you do when you’re alone.
What’s your go-to activity? Do you find ways to glorify God in your spare time? This doesn’t mean sitting down with your Bible every time you’re alone, but it means setting your mind on Him in order to worship Him with your actions. This plays out in the attitude of what you’re doing — folding laundry, cooking, working on the car, doing yard work.
Maybe you like unwinding when you’re alone. Watching TV or perusing the Internet isn’t wrong, but what are your motives? Do you glorify God with those actions? Do you praise Him for giving you a moment to relax and the resources to have Internet?
If your actions do not reveal a heart for God and His truth when you’re alone, why would they voice anything different to people in public?
Producing good fruit
What do you do when someone disappoints you? How do you react when you don’t receive credit for your service in church? What do you spend your money on from your promotion?
It can be painful to think through our actions and hold them up to the perfection of Jesus. When we break it all down, our actions tell the story of our sinful desires most days. They tell people about our selfishness and anger. They reveal our weaknesses and pride.
But they can also voice our love for Jesus. As we give our resources with a joyful heart, these actions show we have an eternal perspective. When we spend quality time with others, these actions express how we’re laying aside selfishness and pride to pour into someone else besides ourselves. When we approach someone who people clearly avoid, these actions reveal we don’t show favoritism.
It’s our choice what kind of story our actions tell. We decide what we believe and how we express that belief. Jesus said we will recognize false prophets by their fruit, meaning their actions. How do people recognize you? Do they see you as a false prophet, as someone who voices belief in God but does not act like Jesus? Or do they see you bearing good fruit, evidence of a heart overflowing with faith in Christ?
May we all seek to match our actions to our words as we voice our faith in Jesus Christ. May the overflow of our hearts produce good fruit in all we say and do.
Let’s Talk About It: What would people say if they told the story of your actions?