If I told someone that I cared about them, wanted what’s best for them, then behaved as though I never felt that way, what does that leave you thinking about me? What words come to mind? Hypocrite? Liar? Fake? Charlatan? I can assure you, those thoughts and more should probably come to mind! We are able, only through our actions, to expose the reality of our thoughts and our soul. Otherwise, our beliefs are empty words, as meaningless as the silence we break with our ill-advised lip service.
And I’m not saying that because I am not guilty at all of doing so. In fact, I’ve done so many times. It’s a fact that I’m not proud of in my life, as I have often paid lip service to God with my mouth, and then allowed my actions to bely the utter lack of trust and lack of love I have had for Him. That’s why the second core value I see the need for is best summed up with the word “REAL.”
I wrote about authenticity yesterday, and authenticity is the idea of being genuine with others and oneself. It is the value of not being duplicitous, of allowing oneself to be transparent with others and yourself with the intent to be open to allow God to work in our lives. We often call this being real, kind of like when MTV had The Real World (I am aware that I may be totally dating myself here, and that’s ok). It’s the idea of just you being you and being honest with who that “you” really is.
This is a different kind of being real. This is the real of being “tangible,” or “concrete,” of making a real impact. Our impact we make on the world around us is proof positive to the world outside of us what we believe and what we think. If we live for Christ, then people know that we KNOW Christ. If we live for ourselves, but profess Christ, we tend to demonstrate exactly what the world around us demonstrates: a self-centered absorption that reduces the universe to 1 person: yourself. You see, if we have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus, then one would reason to believe that we, in appreciation for the love bestowed upon us, would reproduce that love towards others. Hence, the reason why James said that faith without works was dead faith. Because really, if you aren’t inspired by your faith to do God’s will, and you aren’t prepared to give Him your life and your all, where is your faith? If we profess faith, but that faith doesn’t move us, what good is it?
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17 ESV
It’s kind of funny and sad at the same time, because you can literally see Captain Pompous there waving a hand at some poor guy and walking past him doing nothing. I see it all the time. I’ve BEEN Captain Pompous. I have to admit, there have been many times that I have walked past someone in need thinking, “Man, I really wish someone would give this guy some money, or a ride or something. Then I feel less guilty.” But when we do that, we are taking the blessings God has given us and using them for something other than what they were intended for.
Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to have wealth, nor am I saying that to be wealthy is sinful. What I’m saying is this: If you are going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. It’s not enough to just say “I sure wish someone would help you there, Mr. Poor Guy.” We are to give as needs are there, we are to love others because we were first loved. That’s the essence of this type of real I am talking about. It’s the real that says
My belief in God is founded in who He is, and my faith is such that I can lovingly do His will because I know His word is good and that ultimately, my fate is in the hands of Him. I can trust in that and relinquish myself from selfish worry, knowing that my Lord knows my needs and will not let me go without what I need. So, I’m going to ask God to lead me where He would have me, and do that which He has asked me to do, and do so with a loving heart.