Thursday, August 25, 2022

Talk Is Cheap

"Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works."  Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
James 2:17-18 (NKJV)

The old saying that "Talk is cheap" comes from the idea that it is easy enough to talk about something, but actually doing that same thing is entirely different.  For example, people can talk about making a change in their lifestyle, like people do with New Year's resolutions, and that is easy to talk about.  But it is something completely different for that same person to start an exercise routine, start eating better, or break a bad habit.  The best thing is when what we say and what we do are the same thing.

Faith is an important subject in the Bible, that is clear.  There are many people who are good "faith talkers" but many of these people are just talking about faith with nothing to show for it.  Christians will sometimes talk about biblical concepts like walking in love, being generous with their talents or finances, being faithful to church, and following God's plan for their life.  But, if you look at what these same people actually do, their works are showing what they really believe, their actions are the display of where their "faith" really is.

So often the problem is that people understand the concept of what they should be doing in their life and relationship with God, but they have not developed in their faith and trust in God and His Word, to the point where their actions correspond with those beliefs.  As James said, you can see what people really believe by watching the things that they do.  We are not supposed to live a life based solely on good works, but our "good works", as a demonstration of what we actually believe, are something that should be seen in the life of every Christian.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Flanking Maneuver

"lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV)

It has been said that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and that is true.  But it is also true that going somewhere in a straight line is not always the best thing to do.  In many sports, going directly against your opponent is usually not the best way to attack and win, and the same is true in military and other situations.  One of the best things that can be done is to go to the side, to flank your opponent, and look for a weaker area to attack rather than go against them head on.

The Bible shows us that we have an enemy, the devil.  Here in 2 Corinthians 2:11, Paul talks about how we are not ignorant of Satan's "devices".  The Greek word translated as devices here means purposes or even plans.  Paul talks about our not being ignorant of the purposes and plans of Satan, the devil, but I actually think that many times Christians are ignorant and unaware of what the devil is trying to do, because people are expecting a frontal attack when the devil is trying to flank them. 

Often people think the devil will attack them in some obvious way to cause problems in their life, and this does happen.  But what will happen more often is that the devil will come with some small deception or some little distraction that will lead to a bigger problem.  We need to be on guard against any attack of any kind, large or small, that may try to lead us away from God and His Word.  We don't want to be unaware of how the devil will try to use little, sometimes not so obvious, things to bring trouble into our life.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Why Did You Do That?

"And Samuel said, "What have you done?"  Saul said, "When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash,
then I said, 'The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord'  Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.
1 Samuel 13:11-12 (NKJV)

There are many reasons that people do things, and sometimes people do things for the right reasons, and sometimes for the wrong reasons.  Doing something for the right reason in the right way will usually bring good results, and doing things for the wrong reason usually brings bad results.  But it is possible that someone could do the right thing, but for the wrong reason, and that can lead to problems.  Whatever we do must be something that is done for the right reason and in the right way.

In 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul wrote that we must walk, live, by faith not by sight.  Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  Christians are called to live a life of acting on God's Word and not on other things.  In the Old Testament, we see King Saul doing something based on his own ideas, and not following God given directions.  Saul went to battle and he was supposed to wait for Samuel to come and do the sacrifice, but Saul did it himself because of what he saw happening and what he thought might happen.

King Saul had the same problem many people have today, rather that follow God given instructions, Saul acted on his own ideas and he got into trouble.  King Saul's excuse was that he saw people leaving him and he thought that the Philistines might attack.  We can't do things based on how other people act or on what we think might happen.  We need to always go to God's Word to see what it tells us about how we should live our life, and not be moved by other things outside of the Word of God.  

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Most Liked And Most Used?

"The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."
Psalm 119:130 (NKJV)

People on social media like and follow things that interest them and that they approve of.  It is the same way with different products, no one uses a product that they do not like or that has not given them some benefit.  It would be strange for someone to like or follow someone that they did not agree with, or pay attention to something that they were not in favor of.  The goal of social media companies is to show people more of the things they like, to keep those people engaged with their platform.

Of all the books that have ever been published, the Bible is easily the best-selling book of all time.  Millions of people own at least one Bible, or a portion of the Bible (the Old or New Testament, for example), and many people own multiple Bibles.  Using social media type guidelines, it could be said that the Bible is the most liked book of all time.  But, while this is true, it is also true that many people do not have a regular time of reading the Bible, and many people have never read the entire Bible

As Psalm 119:130 tells us, God's Word gives us light, it gives us understanding.  What we learn in God's Word will show us our true identity in Christ, and how to live a life that is not only pleasing to God, but one that is also truly fulfilling.  However, if we only like the Bible, if the Bible is only something we look at when we go to church, then we are not really making our most liked book our most used book.  By reading and studying the Bible, we can get the light, understanding, and direction we need for our life, and know how to do what God has called us to do.