Thought- Do our words and our actions align?
Scripture- “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” – James 2:14-17
Insight: In day 11 of learning to apply biblical principles to our daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider what it means to have alignment in our relationship with Jesus and His teachings. Alignment means “a position of agreement or alliance” and it is critical to having any meaningful impact in the world and in our life as a Christian. If we are not in alignment in our thoughts, prayers, words and actions, our efforts are futile and are done in vein. In Matthew 25:21 Jesus says “well done. Good and faithful servant.” Notice he doesn’t said well said or well thought. It is the alignment of thoughts and words that leads to a productive action that Jesus commends. We can claim many things with our mouth, but the real proof is in our deeds. Do we do what we say? In the Scripture above, James is imploring the readers to be sure that where our faith is concerned, that it is illustrated through our deeds and not just our words. His example in James 2:16 cuts to the core of what is required; while it is great to wish someone in need well, it is much better to intervene in their situation with actions of kindness and love that reflect the love of Christ. In this case, it is offering warm clothes and some food to someone who is in need. God never asks us to provide what we can’t give, but what we can. We can’t do everything, or help everyone, but in many cases, we can do something. Sometimes a prayer or a word of encouragement is all we can offer and that is fine. Other times, we may be asked to intervene with real tangible items such as food and clothing.
Alignment in all areas of our life between words and deeds is critical for success and impact. Someone can boldly proclaim that he will be the greatest QB of all time. But if he spends all his time on the couch, eating bon bons and popcorn and never working out, or trying to improve his skills, his chatter is meaningless. I have been taught lessons throughout my life about alignment and making sure my heart is right before God prior to expecting Him to respond to my request for direction or wisdom. All aspects of our walk with God require us to be in alignment with His will, and most importantly we must put him first, before all things, or we are fundamentally out of alignment with His will. Matthew 6:33 states this truth when it says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Are you putting God first in your life? Is He the first One you turn to when you wake up in the morning, and the last One you give thanks to at the end of the day? Is He with you throughout your day, guiding your decision making and human interactions? Do your deeds match your words and professions of faith? If not, maybe you are out of alignment in your walk with God. If so, God is waiting to help you get back into alignment. Just ask Him and He will show you where some changes might be in order.
Prayer: Father God, help us to put you first and last in our life. Let every waking moment reflect our connection to you, shining our light into a darkened world. Let others see You in us, because we are aligned with you in thoughts, prayers, words and deeds. We pray this in Jesus mighty name. Amen!