I have loved words my whole life, from stories told to me by family to writing my first poem in second grade. But having a way with words and saying all the right things at the right time means absolutely nothing without action.
I can say I am committed to my job, but unless I put the work in on the projects – those words are meaningless. (I am sooooo preaching to myself today as I prepare to trade this little iPhone screen for the big screen of my work computer).
I think James, the brother of Jesus, put it better than anyone when he wrote, “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, ‘Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!’ and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” – James 2:14-17 MSG
Kind words may encourage the hurting for a minute. But authentic action can change people forever – beginning with you.
A life of conviction looks and feels very different than a life of shame. Know the difference! Live the difference!
I am so blessed to work for a hospital that was founded by the Sisters of Mercy. So it is not only a hospital, but also an amazing faith-based community. Every day, our hospital president emails daily reflections like the one below to the entire team. Today’s reflection is so powerful, I thought I would pass it on….
Change the World Around You by Pastor Kenny Kuykendall
Whether you realize it or not, you have “it”.
It may not be with a large circle of people or on a decorated platform, but it is there.
It may not be evident among the masses or recognizable among the elite but it looms in the shadows of your day to day activities.
It is called influence, and you have more of it than you think.
In his book Spiritual Influence, Mel Lawrenz incisively states, “God uses millions of no-name influencers every day in the simplest selfless acts of service. They are the teachers whose names will never be in the newspaper, pastors who will never author a book, managers who will never be profiled in a magazine, artists whose work is buried in layers of collaboration, writers whose sphere of influence is a few dozen people who read their blogs. But they are the army that makes things happen. To them devotion is its own reward. For them influence is a continual act of giving, nothing more complicated than that.”
You don’t have to become a house-hold name to change the house.
You don’t have to have your name out on the marquee to change the marquee.
People doing small things change the world.
Recognize your sphere of influence, regardless of its size, and do something to make a difference.
Perhaps it is time to let Holy Spirit lead us out of situations, habits, or places in our lives that harm us and hinder our ability to receive, do, and be everything our Maker has designed for us. It’s time to enter in to the healing place!
How different would our lives look if we applied the energy we use to talk ourselves out of things toward forward motion?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” –Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT
Sure…. a good worship tune sung with an authentic heart and voice can be most amazing. But the most beautifully orchestrated music in the world is NOTHING compared to the masterpiece God can create with our very lives. So please, my friends – let’s not let the noise of our circumstances silence the beautiful song our Maker is composing in our lives.
Confession is a powerful avenue of healing that sheds light on any sin we are harboring. But it can get easily lost in today’s culture of photo-shopped perfection and social media highlight reels.
However, I challenge you and me to reclaim confessing “one to another.” It is a basic and powerful element of faith for those of us who call ourselves believers in and followers of Jesus. It is also the reason that sustained commitment to a twelve-step program, such as Celebrate Recovery or Alcoholics Anonymous, is the only way many find true freedom from destructive and addictive life patterns. And it is also the reason many modern churches have lost their effectiveness in truly leading their members into a lifestyle not dominated by sin. There sometimes is more of an emphasis on looking blessed than taking time to confess.
In His famous “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus stated, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” – Matthew 5:8
Jesus’ brother, James, echoed that truth when he wrote, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16
What would our churches and our lives look like if we truly began to imitate the ancient and effective pattern of the early church of shedding light on sin so true healing can occur? Why not try it and find out?
Oh, and please note…. It doesn’t say you have to be some super human or a priest-type to hear someone else’s confession. The “one to another” lateral aspect of confession as peers and NOT as superiors is important. This prevents us from erroneously placing the power of forgiveness on anyone else other than our One True God.