Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Story Our Living Tells

Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you are going to find you have been deceived. James 1:22 The Voice

Spiritual growth is more than asking questions, searching for answers, or finding holy guidance. Integrity exceeds head knowledge by calling for a heart response, and the standards of Christian character should reflect a lifestyle pleasing to God. Visible, outward behaviors disclose the inner character of a person, describe their true relationship with God, and distinguish authenticity of the heart. Our inner character writes the story our living tells others.

Being in fellowship with God positions the Christian to breakdown barriers and construct communities that together share the Gospel of Christ. Called to Community, The Life Jesus Wants for His People, is comprised of a myriad of Christian educators, writers, theologians, philosophers, pastors, and martyrs, some living long ago and some living now. In one chapter, German New Testament professor, Gerhard Lohfink, writes, "Where faith is really faith it cannot be shoved to the margins of life." I wonder, when does my busyness, my agenda begin to dictate my response to God? How am I keeping my faith shoved to the margins of life?

An individual faith-story must be more than the words to the Apostles Creed, the Newsboys song We Believe or Psalm 23. Faith cannot be shoved to the margins and still reflect a true, growing relationship with God, not the margins of society, not the margins of our families, not the margins of our calendars. True faith must be more than scribbled notes on the margins of our Bibles, the good intentions that skip across the margins of our thoughts, the generosity that walks passed the margins of opportunities. 

Let us take inventory of our outward behavior. What story do my actions tell others about my fellowship with God? How do I give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves? Where could my hands hold another's pain? Am I too busy to notice? Is my humility missing? The heart's most sincere desire must be to have an intimate relationship with God, and only then can we walk and act and speak with pure expressions of grace. Ethical integrity is spiritual faithfulness in a faithful God lived out loud! What does the inventory of your outward behavior reveal about your inner character?  ~dho

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